Naomi Davis of Sikeston is producing hundreds of turbans for cancer chemotherapy patients as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society. "When you haven't got any hair it keeps your head warm," said Davis.
She said she doesn't charge a cent for any of them. "It's therapy for me," said Davis. "It's good for me to do something for someone else."
Davis got her start after seeing a picture in the Standard Democrat of Girl Scouts cutting out turban patterns and decided it was something she should do.
"I have done crafts all my life," said Davis, "and I have always sewed. I started on an old 'treadle' sewing machine when I was 10 years old. Mother would let me sit down and sew."
Davis went by the Sikeston American Cancer Society office July 20, 2000, and volunteered to make turbans for cancer patients.
"Naomi is just another example of an outstanding citizen who has a big heart and wants to help others. We are proud to have Naomi as our American Cancer Society volunteer," said Effie Hughes from the Sikeston ACS office. "I know she has a heart of gold, along with a lot of other people in Sikeston. She is just one of many."
The material and other supplies for the turbans are donated or purchased with money furnished by the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, according to Davis.
"I do it in kind of an assembly line," said Davis. Before going to bed, she cuts material from a pattern for either six or nine turbans. She explained a yard and a half of material makes six.
In the mornings she does the machine sewing work. "Then at night I finish them up with the finger stitching while I watch TV," said Davis.
She works on the turbans as she finds time. "I do a little something four or five times a week," said Davis.
During the first year, Davis made 103 turbans.
Davis increased the number she produces dramatically, however, after attending the American Legion's state convention last fall.
"I took 70 and they all went the first day," said Davis. "I didn't know there was such a demand for them."
Over the last few months, Davis has raised her number of completed turbans to 485.
"I've been busy," she Davis. "It keeps me out of trouble."
Davis said she first makes sure the local American Cancer Society office, which distributes the turbans in at least three counties, has enough to go around.
The rest Davis personally delivers or sends to health care facilities and clinics both in town and around the nation. "I made some smaller ones for little girls and sent them to St. Jude in Memphis," Davis recalled. "I've had a lot of special orders, too."
Davis recalled one person in Sikeston who had a unique request. "He wanted one with tractors all over it."