Elizabeth Sammons has been at St. Mary’s Hospital for 138 days. That’s more than four months — waiting for a second heart transplant.
Following her first heart transplant in 2015, Sammon, who lives in Lonsdale, experienced several episodes of rejection. That eventually brought her to Mayo Clinic where she receives medication to keep her heart beating until another new heart is found.
To help keep a positive outlook, Sammon began to crochet hats and scarves — all for those who are going without. To date, nearly 600 have been given to the homeless served by the Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities.
After the heart transplant four years ago, Sammons rallied nearly 200 Facebook friends, from Texas to the east coast, to help her provide warm hats and scarves to the homeless at UGMTC. Individuals crocheted, knit or purchased hats and scarves, or gave money for skeins of yarn, to make the gift of 300 hats and 250 scarves possible.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us,” she said, citing 2 Corinthians in the Bible. “God helped my family in our time of need and this is a gift God has given for me to share,” said Sammons.
Throughout every hurdle, every challenge, Sammons says God, crafts and her dogs have helped brighten her spirits. Daily visits from her husband, Dustin, and weekend visits from her parents, she says, are invaluable.
At 17, Sammons felt the effects a weak heart caused by ineffective mitochondria in the cells of her heart muscle. A pacemaker was ineffective and at 25 she was diagnosed with congenital heart failure. In June 2015, she took a leap of faith and had a heart transplant at Abbott Northwestern’s Heart Hospital in Minneapolis.
Earlier that year, Sammons had hatched her first give away plan with six scarves left in a Faribault park. Each hat or scarf had a tag saying, “I am not lost. If you are stuck out in the cold, Please take me to keep.” The name and contact information for a local pastor was also given.
That December she did the same in St. Paul 15 parks. She got help from social media when 50 people help distribute the scarves. Their only requirement was that the scarves must be gone by the next day.
Sammons learned the basics of crocheting from her mother at age 8 but considered the activity for “older ladies.” After getting married, she taught herself the more elaborate stitches and has been crocheting consistently for the past 15 years.