For many years, little babies have been going home from Inova Fairfax Children's Hospital wrapped in an afghan made with love by Reston's Peg Brown.
Peg and her husband, Nick Brown (Reston Citizens Association 2012 Citizen of the Year), recently delivered Peg’s 1,000th granny-square afghan blanket to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Inova Children’s Hospital.
Peg, despite dealing with medical problems of her own, has been creating the quilts since 2004, when she learned that some babies went home from the hospital wrapped in a towel, often because the parents could not afford baby-sized warm blankets.
“Something in my heart told me that these babies needed a hug,” Peg says. “I hope that these blankets show the parents and the babies, that someone is thinking about them.”
Peg Brown started out by knitting booties and made over 300 pairs for the hospital. After she realized they would be quickly outgrown, she switched to crocheting afghans, which can be used and kept for years.
Sadly, the the afghans are also sometimes used as a bereavement remembrance.
Peg makes about 200 afghans each year. She says it takes 10 hours to make one afghan (over 10,000 hours of work). Peg continued to crochet while recovering from cancer surgeries in both lungs and chemotherapy.
She had a setback last summer, when shoulder and back pain prevented her from crocheting. In September, she was diagnosed with Stage IV bone cancer. With radiation therapy for pain, she was able to complete the final 20 of her 1,000 Afghans this month.
This month, the Browns received the March of Dimes Starfish Award, usually given to staff that families feel have gone beyond the call of duty. Peg and Nick are the first non-March of Dimes staff members to receive the starfish pin.
In 2012, Peg and Nick were also honored by Volunteer Fairfax, with the Volunteer Family of the Year award.
An Inova spokeswoman says Peg’s 1,000th afghan will be framed and hung in the NICU as a keepsake that will mark the thousands of hours Peg has committed to the children.