Barbara Junyor uses talent to help others
Barbara Junyor of Caraway has been making afghans for five years to give to cancer patients. The afghans are made for men patients undergoing cancer treatment at the Ben Owens Cancer Center at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro.
Barbara taught herself to crochet years ago as a hobby. She never dreamed it would turn into a mission to help others.
She spent a lot of time at the cancer center with her husband, the late Ronnie Joyner, Sr., who lost his battle to cancer six years ago this month.
"When you sit there (at the cancer treatment center) day after day, you begin to notice things," she said. "While I was there with my husband, I noticed everything there is geared for women."
She also remembers one nurse, who is also her husband's cousin, who would put blankets in the microwave to get them warm before wrapping the patients who were cold during treatments.
"When we would come home after treatments, my husband would wrap up in the afghans I had made," she said. "One day God put it in my heart to make afghans and share with men at the cancer center."
She said the thought had been put in her heart and she remembers the first one she completed.
"I took it to the center and offered it to an elderly man from the nursing home," she said. "He told me he did not have the money to buy it, but I explained to him it was not for sale, I just wanted him to accept it as a gift. He was very grateful."
Since the first afghan, she has made 65 or 70 to take to the center. She has a neighbor who makes an afghan every year and gives it to her to take to the center. The Black Oak EHC has also made afghans during the holiday season to give away.
"During the Christmas season one year we served cookies and punch and gave afghans as gifts," she said. "The recipients were appreciative."
Mrs. Junyor has received very nice thank you notes.
"It is rewarding," she said. "One man said it brought back memories of his mother who used to crochet."
It takes her about 35 hours to make one afghan. Some days she can work several hours on her crocheting and other days less. The camouflage afghans have been very popular with the men.
Mrs. Junyor is on a fixed income and is not able to work, but each month she puts back a little money to purchase yarn. She said some people who know about her project have donated yarn in "manly" colors to help supply more people at the cancer center. Anyone who would like to donate yard can just drop it by her house or call 482-3693 and she will pick it up.
"If we can give one person a little pleasure during a difficult time it is worth it all," she said.
Mrs. Junyor calls herself blessed.
"I have a wonderful family," she said.
She has two sons, Ronnie Junyor II and Jeff Junyor. Ronnie and his wife, Kimberly, live in Caraway. He is a registered nurse at St. Bernards Medical Center. Jeff is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Fisher. She also has three grandchildren.
Making afghans for the cancer patients is Mrs. Junyor's way of honoring her husband.
"He was a wonderful man who was always willing to help anyone," she said.