Warmth is a feeling of love and security. 

Materialised through every thread painstakingly knitted by Auntie Elsie, her beanies have provided cancer patients with warmth felt not just on their heads, but also in their hearts.


One of the pioneers of the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) Knitting Programme, Aunty Elsie has been with the “Knit of Love” programme for over 8 years. Prior to her retirement, she was employed as a medical worker in pain management clinics, working to restore function and manage chronic pain in patients. Having worked with cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy, she immediately agreed to join the SCS Knitting programme in its early stages when the opportunity arose.

Her passion shone through as she drew from her professional experience to comfort the beneficiaries during her knitting classes. She sombrely recalls how the cancer patients often felt cold and unsightly due to hair loss from chemotherapy. To alleviate their discomfort and worries, Auntie Elsie and the volunteers decided to knit a variety of scarfs and beanies for them.

In a sense, beyond being a source of physical comfort, they served as a tangible representation of the undying love and support from SCS volunteers. Many of the patients were elated, and often responded to these acts of altruism with a greater willingness to be vulnerable and share the woes and frustrations that weighed heavily on their minds. And whenever they did, Aunty Elsie was more than happy to help. 

“I am very blessed to work with SCS Knit of Love, the smiles on the patients’ faces as they don their beanies do more than just brighten my day, they never fail to remind me of our purpose here at SCS.’’ —  Aunty Elsie.

What started off as an idea burgeoned into a wider project where SCS Knit of Love volunteers took their knitting expertise to greater heights by contributing to the battle against cancer in different ways. In 2019, together with the other volunteers, they expanded their knitting to the community. Hosting the Boon Tiong Knitting Fair, a multitude of knitted items ranging from toddler shoes to cute animals were sold, raising funds for the beneficiaries at SCS. 

With multiple residents scrambling to buy an exclusive and limited one-and-only knitted bag, Auntie Elsie became the star of the show. “$50! $100! 300! $600! $800!” Auntie Elsie chuckles as she recounts the clamour that ensued when she put that sole knitted bag on auction. To have her bags unexpectedly contribute such a significant amount to the charity pool, Aunty Elsie was shocked to find out how much others valued her creations. Despite being thrown into the spotlight, Auntie Elsie humbly gives credit to her peers and teammates whose efforts made the event a resounding success.

Pokeballs Auntie Elsie      Oranges Auntie Elsie

Knitting Items Auntie Elsie

Aunty Elsie recently rekindled an old friendship with a cancer survivor, who personally delivered a bouquet of flowers to her as an act of gratitude. The joy of giving that comes to a full circle gives Aunty Elsie immeasurable satisfaction.

Aunty Elsie, having just become an octogenarian, also feels very blessed to be in the company of the volunteers of SCS Knit of Love, who never fail to demonstrate their kindness and eagerness to work with one another. With so many under her wing, she is confident that the project will continue to blossom and expand in scale. 

To the SCS volunteers, 

“Be strong, continue your good work!”—  Aunty Elsie.


Article contributed by SCS volunteers: Ian Chia and Nathaniel Chin

Find out more about volunteering with SCS here


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