What began as an effort to fulfill a last-minute request from her son has turned into a ministry for Mary Womack to bring joy to loved ones and their families struggling with cancer and to help Cancer Navigators.
Four years ago, Womack’s son asked her to make a holiday wreath for Cancer Navigators’ annual wreath auction while his wife was being treated for colon cancer.
“I asked him when it was due, and he didn’t know. I found out they were due the day before he asked me, so I hurried up and did one,” Womack said. The next year, someone from Cancer Navigators called Womack.
“They asked how many I would like,” Womack said. Cancer Navigators provides unadorned wreaths that can be decorated by its artistic supporters. “I said ‘You can give me those wreaths?’ and I said I will start with six.”
This year’s wreath auction has already begun. Community members are invited to participate in the silent auction by writing down their bid on the form accompanying the wreath or wreaths they want. The silent auction ends at 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, with the highest bidder winning the wreath.
The wreaths will be on display through Dec. 2 at the Harbin Clinic Tony E. Warren, M.D. Cancer Center during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and in the Wright Art Gallery at Floyd Medical Center near the Gift Shop on the second floor. Some wreaths are also on display at Cherokee Medical Center in Centre, Alabama.
Womack asked for 15 bare wreaths this year. She estimates she has created about 30 since she first started four years ago. The den in Womack’s West Rome home becomes a workshop as she makes her holiday masterpieces.
“For each wreath I do, I do them for a special person who is either in my church or like my daughter-in-law, who I know. And I do them in their personality.”
She said she puts the wreaths on her floor with the accompanying decorations. Sometimes she will let them sit for a couple days to make sure they are just right. After the wreath is finished, Womack takes a picture of it and gives it to the person she made it for or to their family member.
“We greatly appreciate Mary’s continued support of the wreath auction and for all of the time, effort and creativity she puts into each and every wreath she creates,” said Sarah Husser, fundraising and community outreach coordinator for Cancer Navigators. “The thought and detail she gives to decorate wreaths that reflect the personalities of specific individuals is amazing.”
Rome-based Cancer Navigators is a nonprofit organization that helps provide cancer patients with needed resources.