One day shortly before my second chemo treatment, Mike called me from his office to let me know that one of his colleagues at work had put my name forward to an organization that makes handmade quilts for people with cancer. I was really touched by this since I had never even met this particular colleague before. I also had never heard of this quilting organization so I looked it up online. It is called Victoria’s Quilts.
It was started in the U.S.by Deborah Rogers and named for Victoria Ann Morrison who was her best friend. Victoria was a quilter and also a cancer patient. She had commented to her friend that she often got cold during her chemo treatments. After Victoria passed away, Deborah decided to start Victoria’s Quilts. In 1998, Betty Giffin from Ottawa brought the concept to Canada. In that first year they distributed 16 quilts to cancer patients and now there are more than 800 volunteers, with 20 groups in Ottawa, close to 30 branches across Canada with a distribution of about 400 quilts per month. With the help of so many volunteers, community members and others, the organization provides comfort both physical and spiritual to people struggling with cancer so that they know they are not alone in their struggle. This truly amazed me. There is such kindness in the human spirit that can touch your heart and make it soar.
One day not too long afterwards, there was a knock at my door and an elderly lady was smiling at me and then she handed me a big bag. Inside were a beautiful quilt and a handmade carry bag for it. She explained that she was from the United Church and she was delivering it for me and then she gave me the name of the person that had requested it for me. I thanked her and immediately wrote to the organizers on the website to express my sincere appreciation and fascination that so much work had gone into this quilt for me. Handmade by complete strangers. On their own time. How incredible was that?!?
I called Mike and told him but when I gave him the name it wasn’t the same as the lady he works with that had put my name in. It was actually the name of one of the people that he was doing his MBA with. So now it seems that two people had thought about me and requested a quilt. I felt kind of bad for the first lady but she was happy that I had received a quilt. Instead, she ended up knitting me a big, warm pair of socks and sent that off in the mail. I wrote to both of these thoughtful ladies to thank them for their kindness. I was just so thankful. Those socks were on my feet and that quilt was with me for every treatment, every hospital stay, every afternoon nap and any other time that I might be cold or need comfort. That quilt has become like a good friend. A shoulder to lean on. A symbol of home and comfort. Maybe I’ve turned into Linus dragging my blankie around like on the old Charlie Brown cartoons. Anyway, I love my quilt and it is never far away from me. A little piece of home wherever I go.
Not long after I started my treatments, my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer as well. Now she has a Victoria’s Quilt too.
On the reverse side of my quilt (and I believe in every quilt they make) there is this verse sewn into the fabric:
Be strong and of good courage
do not be afraid,
for the Lord is with you wherever you go.
To learn more about Victoria’s Quilts, visit:
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