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Mildred Fancher comforts children she never sees.

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
Combining her love for cats and children, she creates cats for the personnel at Atmore Community Hospital to give to children who are hurt, sick, anxious, or who just need a little something to hold on to.
"I've loved cats all my life. I have two, Joe Willie and Punkin," Fancher said. "I started doing this in 1999, and I've made at least 500."
Usually the cats are kept in the hospital gift shop, then distributed where needed. Annette Dawe, ACH Auxiliary president, said the cats are in high demand, not always by children who are sick or hurt. Sometimes, children who are waiting with family members come into the gift shop. They may be anxious, because someone in the family is in the hospital. They get kittens too.
Fancher said one type of material is best to use in making cats.
"Double knit stretches for sewing and holds up well when it's washed," she said. "I have a lot of double knit that people have given me, but if anyone has double knit material they're not planning to use, I would love to put it to use."
She can also use polyester batting, lace and ribbon, if anyone would like to donate some.
The color of the material doesn't matter n except for black.
"I never make a black cat. You know, that's a sign of bad luck," Fancher said. "I use all colors, even stripes and plaids, but never black."
Fancher has found that the cats bring comfort to some elderly people as well.