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A New Mexico patch of lion scarf in memory of a lion-hearted man from a lion-hearted knitter

Posted by Stitch and Bitch London on February 18, 2007

This is one of my favourite patches of lion scarf because it is knitted in honour of a very brave individual who wanted to help the rest of the world even when he was ill. I will let Amber speak for herself.

I began knitting in September 2006. Like many other newbies, my first project was a scarf…so was my second. A big portion of the second scarf was knit quite literally as my Uncle was dying of cancer.

My Uncle, Clyde Sheldon, had been fighting this cancer for over a year. It was an extremely aggressive form of bone cancer. It was so rare, no treatment protocol existed, so he offered to be part of a study that was trying to establish one. In October/November 2006 we all knew that the fight was close to over. I made two round-trip drives (3200 miles total) between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada (where I was born and raised and where most of my family still lives). I knit when I stopped to eat (so I wouldn’t fall apart). I knit at the friend’s house where I was staying (because I couldn’t sleep). I knit in the hospital room (a lot).

During the last weeks of his life, as I was knitting in his hospital room, dozens of friends came to visit him. He had been fighting this agressive of bone cancer for over a year. During that year, until he got too sick, he continued to visit his friends and family and to be visited by them. At the end, they all came to him. They came from miles away. Sometimes they came from years away. They came before dawn when they knew he needed to see a friendly face instead of hospital staff when he woke up in the morning. Until I became a member of the knitting community (where it is a beautiful epidemic), I had never seen such self-sacrifice and such an outpouring of love and respect from such a large group of busy people.

My Uncle (Clyde Sheldon) was a wonderful man. My Aunt Connie (his wife) is a knitter although she hasn’t knit in a long, long time. A few weeks ago I managed to start a cable project and get it going along pretty well. I called her because I knew she could share my joy and she did. She is also a breast cancer survivor and one of the kindest most generous people I know.

My Uncle died at a relatively young age (62). He left behind a wonderful wife, two grown children, two grandchildren, and countless other friends and family who miss him dearly every day.

When I heard about the lion scarf project, I decided that I HAD to knit a section in his memory and as a tribute to the love and respect he inspired and the love and respect that was returned to him at the end of his life. The scarf is in the colors of the United States Marine Corps (he was a retired marine) and (concidentally) the colors of the New Mexico state flag. Knitting it has helped me cope with the loss of a man who was as strong as a lion and who fought his cancer like a lion until the day he died.

Thanks for listening (reading). I hope the scarf makes a bundle of money or a truly worthy cause. I’ve attached a couple of pictures of my (lionesque) dog Wolfgang modelling the scarf section.

Amber in Albuquerque

People like Mr Sheldon make it easier for other people who go through the same fight in later years. As a cancer fighter who agreed to be part of trial, despite the shock of finding out I was ill, I know how oddly soothing it can be to think of others when everyone else is worrying about you.

It is clear from her words that Amber herself has taken strength from his example and always will.

I really hope that their story inspires everyone, cancer fighters and knitters alike, to fight the good fight and keep on looking forwards in the face of hardship.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Amber. Families of cancer fighters often don’t see how truly brave they are. I take my knitted hat off to you all. 🙂


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