Marie Tromp, an 88-year-old resident of a retirement home in Pretoria East. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi / African News Agency (ANA)
Marie Tromp, an 88-year-old resident of a retirement home in Pretoria East. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi / African News Agency (ANA)

Dying from cancer, but Marie Tromp crochets hundreds of blankets for abandoned babies

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Feb 27, 2021

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Pretoria – A labour of love – more than 500 hand-crocheted blankets for abandoned babies.

This is no small accomplishment for Marie Tromp, an 88-year-old resident of a retirement home in Pretoria East.

Tromp has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and has only months left to live, yet she gives her all for the little babies.

“I just want them to look pretty in my blankets and be warm. I am doing this with love.”

Tromp is not only battling the constant pain of cancer, but she has also had macular degeneration for over 15 years.

Her sight is severely impaired, but she has managed to crochet over 500 blankets for Dove’s Nest Place of Safety, Tshwane Home for Abandoned Babies and Women Against Rape.

While she is in severe pain, she never complaints and always has a smile on her face.

A couple of years ago, before Covid-19, a group of women from East View Methodist Church started an outreach programme through Child Welfare to Dove’s Nest and Tshwane Home, two facilities for abandoned babies, of which Tromp and her friend Wilma Cloete are part.

Cloete described Tromp as the most positive person she knew. She and some of the other women assist Tromp with sewing the crochet blocks together to make a blanket. Tromp’s eyesight does not allow for this.

But this amazing woman needs no help in the crochet department, as she has done this for the past 80 years.

“My mother taught me to crochet when I was a little girl. Although I never attempted big projects at the time and only started my blanket project a few years ago, I have never forgotten how to crochet.”

She can do this with her eyes closed and each blanket is a work of art.

Tromp does not have a big heart for nothing; she shares Madiba’s birthday – July 18.

While she has to rest for big parts of the day, when she is awake her hands are busy with her crochet needle. This, in spite of the fact that she also suffers from arthritis.

Covid-19 had some drawbacks for Tromp, as she twice had to cancel visits abroad to two of her grandchildren, missing one of them getting married.

In the past she managed to complete one blanket every three days, but nowadays things are a bit slower and she finishes a blanket in nine days, as she has to rest more.

“But I will never give up. I want to make those babies happy in my colourful blankets,” she said.

Pretoria News Weekend

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