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Love: One Stitch at a Time

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daniella Peña-Pavao
  • 33 Fighter Wing

In the midst of undesirable circumstances, this family found a way to give back to others, and it all began five years ago.

Master Sgt. Antonio Ruth, 33rd Maintenance Squadron Accessories Flight chief, was living in Alaska when his mother Reatha Mae ‘Tiny’ Ruth was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.

At first, it was difficult for Ruth because he was unable to go to her treatments in South Carolina due to his duty location. However, when his leave was approved he was able to join her on one of her treatments.

“My mom would check in at the hospital at around eight in the morning and checkout at around four or five o’clock in the afternoon,” said Ruth. “So to pass the time, she would crochet blankets.”

The oncology center was very cold, so when Ruth’s mother received compliments on her blankets, she saw an opportunity and started to give them away to the other patients to brighten up their day.

“When my mom saw the impact she was having on the lives of other people who were going through the same thing, she decided that every time she would crochet a blanket she’d give it away,” said Ruth. “Many of these people were battling cancer alone.”

In August 2011, Ruth received orders and was stationed here. The move made it easier for him to travel to South Carolina and help take care of his mother.

“At the time, my mom was staying with my older sister and all the responsibility had fallen on her,” said Ruth. “She was taking my mom to all of her treatments so when I had the time and could take leave, we would go home and help.”

Reatha Mae ‘Tiny’ Ruth gave away over 40 blankets before she passed away on Dec. 6, 2013.

“After my mom’s funeral, all my family got together and brainstormed on how were going to continue her legacy,” said Ruth.

The Ruth family decided that they were going to continue Tiny’s legacy by crocheting blankets and giving them to cancer patients at the same oncology center that she received her treatment. They named their organization “A ‘Tiny’ Bit of Love.”

“This is the fifth year that we are doing the event,” said Ruth. “We go back to the hospital that treated my mom every year around her birthday.”

This year, the Ruth family hopes to surpass 500 blankets donated since they started.  

However, Ruth says, “Our main goal is to provide comfort and the same kind of joy that mom provided while she was living; one stitch at a time.”