Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cancer, strength and the garden tour

Yesterday afternoon I helped staff the Gig Harbor Quilt Festival booth at one of the lovely gardens on the Gig Harbor Garden Tour. All proceeds from the booth go toward providing mammograms for women who can't afford them.

There were many beautiful, peaceful, lovely and unexpected treasures in this secret garden:

But the most beautiful of all was the smile (after the tears were wiped away) on this woman in orange, Sheila, when she realized that it was our group that made the comfort quilt she received last year while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Smiling beside her is Carol Arnold, who started the Comfort Quilt Project (an offshoot of the Quilt Festival) after her treatment for breast cancer. That project makes quilts for local patients undergoing cancer treatment and has donated more than 1,100 so far.
Carol, left, and Sheila.
We were so touched by Sheila's story and of how she treasures that blue quilt that we all teared up a bit. Then I snapped into journalist mode and asked to take a picture and put her in the blog.

Before we discovered that she was a cancer survivor, she had mentioned that going on the Garden Tour was one of the items on her bucket list and that she was checking off a new item every month. "Next month is piano lessons," she said. She jumped right into the Garden Tour and served as a docent at another garden.
Then we got her cancer story, and the bucket list made sense. We should all embrace life like that, but without waiting for cancer or some other setback to strike first. 

You can read more about her story here in local Gig Harbor Patch:
A quilter's ferry!
We heard other stories from survivors, and I was so touched by their strength. I've never had cancer and often think I would just fall apart if it happened to me. I may be physically strong from my yoga practice, but I'm a mental wimp. One woman told of how hard it was to hold together her teaching job while undergoing chemo and suffering from chemo brain. Others simply said they wanted to buy something from us because they had gone through breast cancer. 

I made two garden scarves and sold them right away and talked the buyers into posing for the blog. Here I am with Carol wearing one, and here are the nice women who bought them. I made the scarves light and airy so they would be comfortable in the summer.
Note the mola on her shirt.

Here are more items for sale at our booth, interspersed with garden photos:


Raffle quilt, "Summer Album"
You can get tickets for the raffle quilt and learn more about the group through its web site:

Fun pincushions by Janet.


The fan says it all. It was HOT, and people gratefully stopped under the shade of our canopy and then wandered through the dark, mysterious, shady garden areas behind the house. Many wide-brimmed straw hats were worn, in contrast with umbrellas that were needed for part of last year's tour.

Have a colorful day


Judy Ferguson said...

This was a very interesting and colorful post. Our guild makes turbans for cancer patients and I have made hats to donate to them. The hats I made were smaller so that they would fit without the hair. A really touching post today.

tiedyejudy said...

What a lovely event, and very inspiring! I'm glad you had good weather, and your scarves came out beautifully! Glad you sold them, and I'm sure they will be enjoyed by the buyers.

Lisa Quintana said...

I think they should be called prayer flag scarves!

Julia DesertSpring said...

I want to live in that little shack by the water! And if you ever got cancer, which you won't, Dad and I would hold it together emotionally for you. Mostly Dad though, because I'd be a wreck!

Sherrie Spangler said...

I love the idea of prayer flag scarves. I could print words like "peace" and "heal" on some of the fabric and sell them at our next breast cancer event. Thanks, Lisa.