Christina Denny wanted to join a club at Bozeman High School that actually helped people.

That's why Denny, 16, a junior from Gallatin Gateway, joined the Aspen Roots club, which helps people with cancer.

Club members have thrown holiday parties for little kids with cancer, held fundraisers and looked for ways to support families struggling with cancer.

One club member heard last fall that hats were running low at the Bozeman Deaconess Cancer Center, so students talked about knitting new ones.

Denny didn't know how to knit, but she did know how to sew. She decided to sew fleece hats.

So with help from Becky Franks, Aspen Roots club adviser and executive director of the nonprofit Cancer Support Community, Denny got enough fleece to make 81 hats.

The project went slowly at first – Denny was busy with speech and debate, in which she competed in expository speaking. She finished sewing the last 61 hats in just two days at the end of winter break.

They're all sizes, from infant to adult, and come in a variety of colors, from brown polka dots to green camo, red argyle and blue with musical note designs.

Franks said she plans to give most of the hats to the 80 women who'll attend the next Mending in the Mountains retreat, held each fall at the 320 Ranch.

“Our women would absolutely love these,” Franks said. “There's a ton of women with no hair or hair just coming back, and it's cold. The warmth of these will be exactly what the doctor ordered.”

The infant-sized hats will probably go to the hospital.

Denny, whose grandfather had cancer, said after high school she wants to go to college and get a teaching degree.

“I want to make a difference,” she said. “Teachers in my life have made a real big impact.”

Her Christian faith is also important to her, and she'd like to go on a mission trip somewhere overseas where she can help spread the gospel.

Asked what she'd learned from making the fleece hats, Denny said, “I love giving stuff to people.”

Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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