The Chain Reaction – Tonya’s Story



chain re·ac·tion


noun: chain reaction; plural noun: chain reactions
a chemical reaction or other process in which the products themselves promote or spread the reaction, which under certain conditions may accelerate dramatically.
  • the self-sustaining fission reaction spread by neutrons that occurs in nuclear reactors and bombs.
  • a series of events, each caused by the previous one.

Around the office, we have our own definition of “chain reaction”: The peace that comes when you are in tune with your creative self, and using your creative self to inspire others. We recently received the following email from Tonya:

Hello! My name is Tonya. I have Lung cancer stage 4. I taught myself how to do single chain crochet. My scarves came out beautifully!   However I found you on youtube and have since subscribed to you…. your tutorials have taught me so much joy. I love crocheting!
I even crocheted in treatments and inspired others to do the same!
It and you have totally brought joy to my life, I’ve also become less anxious at the doctors offices and its been helping with my RA (rheumatoid arthritis)
So I wanted to send you  a quick THANK YOU!  YOU ARE AN AMAZING TEACHER!!!
I look forward to doing more projects. Thus far I learned how to do flowers, attach them to a chain, the ruffle scarf, the necklace with charm…..
Again, thank you Maggie!
One of your biggest fans,
Tonya Parrotta
After some further correspondence with Tonya, we learned more:

I’ve written two books as to hope to inspire others who suffer from this disease, or any disease for that matter. I was told I wouldn’t make it, the doctors don’t understand how I’m still alive. My secret is attitude, faith, a love for God and find a passion. It so happens you all helped me find crocheting has brought such great joy and I’m able to bless others. I’ve made different scarves watching your videos and have given them as gifts. So in theory you blessing more than me.

I’m always watching for your new videos. I’ve saved some of your past videos as well. And I’m learning the terms as my goal is to be able to read and understand patterns.
Yes, that’s me in the pictures. I guess I model my work….lol
I don’t have a link as I just sell my books on my own. Being the fact I’m a new writer, if I wanted a bookstore to sell the books I’d have to pay them to do so. At that point I lost money instead of made…. I will take a pic of both the books and email them. My first book, Tonya’s Healing, is my journey with cancer. Its a short story, very inspirational.  I did 3 modeling shoots for the pictures. The layout is all the writing on the right side is my story, on the left side is pictures of me with inspirational quotes. My hope and prayer was I’d write a book to help people with their own journey with cancer or anything that may rob them of peace, serenity or joy…. and I’ve sold over 300! Many letters people have written me saying my book helped them, that it changed their lives. I brought strength.
My second, Putting the Can Back Into Cancer, is a workbook helping people have a can do attitude!
I’m starting another one….but crocheting is taking my time. But I love it!
I feel like I’m in a whole other place when I crochet. I’m in such a peaceful, joyous, and pain free. Having cancer and treatments leaves you with a lot of pain. One wakes up to it, and goes to bed with it. When I crochet I noticed it helped manage my pain, brought anxiety down, and it was a creative way to bring beauty at a time where there’s a lot of ugly. I love more than anything, helping others, so I make my scarves and give them away. I love looking at the finish product, wrapping it in tissue paper and I tie a flower that I crochet around it. I love watching peoples reaction…. see crocheting allowed me to go to radiation every day for a month, in my mind I won’t remember that it was a pain to drive 45 minutes every day, the fatigue, and pain, the horrible mask I had to wear etc.  What I will remember is how all of us would laugh, that I got 3 other people to start knitting and crocheting, I’ll remember more of our talks about yarn, patterns….
You all gave me such a beautiful gift. You also helped give me confidence. Because I was able to learn something,  watching a youtube video, create my own…. in that it helped me get thru what I needed to get thru with strength, confidence, serenity….words cannot describe my sincere gratitude for that!
I’m very excited to buy some patterns and yarns….. I love shopping for yarn just as much as all women love to shoe shop!…..lol
I’m sure we’ll be in touch. I truly get excited when I see your email.
Have a wonderful God bless day.
In working with Tonya to create this blog post, she gave us even more of her story. She is truly a remarkable woman. Read on.
Good morning! I am so sorry I couldn’t respond sooner, unfortunately its common to go to the ER…. if I may share another ‘chain reaction’ story, I had to go to the ER due to the radiation gave me horrible burns and I couldn’t breath today. While I was in the hospital I brought my 2nd purse, which is my crochet projects I carry.  Any how, long story short, I ended up showing the whole nursing staff and the doctors my projects I was working on. A couple of the nurses even said they were going to check out Maggiescrochet website, as they were touched by my story and my love for crocheting. I’m bringing, this Friday, my first batch of scarves that I’m donating to the hospital.  I’ve created a label saying all patterns and yarns purchased at maggiescrochet.com….. I can’t wait to pass the love….
I even made the x-ray tech wait so I could finish this one section….
Words truly cannot express my greatest, most sincere gratitude for your wonderful, easy to follow tutorials. I’m confident on tackling the next level. I’d like to make the poncho! Maggie and staff… thank you for…. well… for everything you all do. We live in a very souless world, you all touched my heart and helped bring joy back into my life! Thank you just doesn’t seem like its enough….
 Thank you for sharing my story. We all seem to be on the same mission. Help others, share with others, inspire learn and grow with creativity.
May God bless you all as you have truly blessed me!!!
Many of us use our creative sides to get us through hard times, just like Tonya. When we create, whether it’s with a crochet hook and yarn, a paint brush or pencil and sketchbook, words or music, we enter a safe place: a place where the cares of the world disappear as we become one with the creative process, and where we put the forces of destruction aside, even if only for a moment.
If you would like to buy Tonya’s book, you can contact her at tonyalmoore@comcast.net. Books are $25, and all proceeds help to offset her medical costs.
If you have a story you’d like to share, please email us at cindy@maggiescrochet.com. You could be featured in an upcoming blog post.
For more inspirational stories, try Michigan’s Prayer Shawl Ministry.



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1 Comment

  • L.K.Weaver 10 years ago Reply

    Tonya ~~

    Your story is extremely inspirational as well as heart-rendering. You are truly to be admired for all you have accomplished.

    Like you, I taught myself to crochet almost 50 years ago. Made many lovely things ~ both for myself and many, many as gifts. Then “life” got in the way of my crochet and I didn’t do it for years. Not until my Mother (who also crocheted her whole life) died in 2010 after living with me for 3-1/2 years. For comfort, I found myself turning back to my crochet. Yes, I agree with you, it is very relaxing and I found it comforting and it helped me deal with Mother’s passing ~~ doing what my Mother had always done.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I sincerely hope that you have many more years to live a happy, pain-free life and to help others. Good luck.



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