Cindy Gowell of Sabattus has stage-four lung cancer but still crochets hats for people who are less fortunate. She also bakes meals and treats for her neighbors. Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald

When Cindy Gowell was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer, she was told she only a year to live. She’s spent the four years since then finding ways to give to others.

“I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself,” said Gowell, who is 56 and lives in Sabattus.

Every morning, she gets up, chooses the color yarn she wants to knit with and gets to work on a scarf or hat for someone in the community who needs it, all with her dog, Faith, a Shiba Inu, next to her.

Before the pandemic, she would slip a couple dollars in the hats and place them around her local park. Now, she donates them to the YWCA in Lewiston. “Her hats are beautiful,” said Jennifer Erwin of the YWCA.

Gowell’s latest project is making mats for people who are homeless to sleep on, by crocheting together plastic bags. She also loves cooking for her neighbors — lasagna, cookies and breads that she drops off to the families that live next door and her neighbor, who is recently widowed.

At the cancer center where Gowell receives treatment, Linda Taylor, who works as a financial adviser to patients, said she sees Gowell live her life selflessly, always putting others’ needs before her own.

“She just has the most positive attitude and doesn’t care what she’s going through unless she’s helping someone else,” Taylor said. “She should never leave this world quietly; people need to know that she’s there.”

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