I have to admit, when it comes to knitting or crocheting, it is something I enjoy doing, but I am notorious for starting projects and taking months to finish them, thanks to a busy schedule.
I refused to let this be the case when I got a Facebook message from my friend Giuseppe Silvestri of Unpli Irpinia (Unione Nazionale Pro Loco d’Italia). He mentioned that for International Women’s Day on March 8, Irpinian women from around the world were asked to knit or crochet a pink scarf as a way to call attention to the fight against breast cancer. These scarves would then be linked together as a kind of virtual “hug” for those fighting the battle and they would then try to submit the entire project to the Guinness Book of World Records.
What my friend did not know at the time of his message was that 2018 marked the 60th anniversary of my grandmother, Anna Mascaro Longo’s, passing from that horrible disease. My mother was 10 years old and, because medical technology in 1958 was so different than that of today, she remembers that Nonna suffered terribly. I often talk about how proud I am of my Nonno Joe, Anna’s husband, but never really got the chance to show how proud I am of my Nonna for her bravery. It has been told to me by several people that when she knew she would die, her only concern was her children, my mother and her brother, Jay. As her granddaughter, how could I not be proud of Nonna’s strength of character and want to somehow honor her? I had wanted to run the Race for the Cure and participate in other breast cancer-related initiatives, but nothing ever felt “right.” Until now.
I pulled myself together and quickly crocheted a scarf for my Nonna. It’s not as long as I wanted it to be (I am a slow crocheter!), nor was it perfectly done (I am still learning!), but I wanted to make sure she was somehow a part of this beautiful initiative. Every woman who has fought or who is fighting this disease deserves to be a part of it and by the sheer length of the scarf, I truly believe each one was.
The overall length of the “Scarf of Solidarity” was roughly nine-and-a-half miles, which beat the previous World Record of 9 miles for a handmade scarf, which was set in India. The scarf was unveiled on March 8 in Lioni’s Piazza Vittoria as part of local activities for International Women’s Day. Besides the official World Record declaration, women that day wore pink in honor of women fighting breast cancer. A commemorative pink bench to raise awareness of violence against women was also unveiled at Avellino’s train station, where women were able to board a train to Lioni to see the scarf.
In case you were wondering what it looks like, here’s my scarf in honor of my Nonna Anna. It may not have arrived in Italy on time, but I am thankful that Nonna was still a part of this day!