A quilt, by definition, is a layered blanket of cotton, down, feathers or wool stitched firmly together for warmth and comfort. But if youï¿½ve ever had one made for you, draped at the foot of your bed, wrapped around you when youï¿½re unwell or weighed down by lifeï¿½s tendency to ebb more than it flows, you know a quilt is much more than that.
For Jodi Higgs, creating a quilt was a way to give hope, inspiration and comfort to people with cancer. Her father Alan Kendall was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2012, ironically as the family was participating in the Relay for Life cancer fundraising event. Alan was rushed to the Emergency Department at Werribee Mercy Hospital where he was diagnosed and subsequently received care and chemotherapy treatment.
|The quilt was donated to Werribee Mercy Hospital in October 2013 as a thank you and an inspiration to others. |
Devastated, the close-knit Kendall family did what they do best ï¿½ supported each other through the journey and found hope and positivity in their strength as a family. Alan was never alone.
Accompanying her father to the hospitalï¿½s Medical Day Stay Unit for treatment, Jodi came across a quilt that had been donated to the unit, hanging on display. A fire was lit. ï¿½Once the idea came to me I knew I had to make a quilt that was bright and encouraging so that others could be inspired to keep trying,ï¿½ said Jodi.
It took 10 women 100 hours to make the quilt. In its creation Jodi gathered inspiration and support from friends, family and her online communities. Messages of encouragement were passed on by cancer survivors and were stitched into the fabric alongside the words hope, courage, strength and love.
ï¿½I used social media networks to ask others if they wanted to be part of this project and within hours people were offering their time, materials and expertise,ï¿½ said Jodi. ï¿½I also went online to look for comments from people who had experienced cancer so we could connect with them and entwine their thoughts and feelings with ours.ï¿½
Jodi, her mother Heather, sister Tania and sister in law Stacey were all part of the quilt sewing circle. Having shared Alanï¿½s 14 month journey through chemotherapy, the women skilfully wove their compassion, dignity and faith into every stitch, every square. The quilt has since been passed on to Werribee Mercy Hospital to inspire others on their journey through treatment.
ï¿½Dad is so happy with what we achieved,ï¿½ said Jodi. ï¿½Heï¿½s proud that weï¿½ve donated the quilt to Werribee Mercy Hospital where he had all of his treatment. They looked after all of us amazingly well so itï¿½s great to give back and have something positive to share with others.ï¿½
One special square on the quilt was saved for a dedication to Alan. The message reads:
ï¿½Dedicated to my Dad, Alan Kendall; a husband, father, son, poppy, uncle, mate âˆ’ a true gentleman in every way.ï¿½
If you would like information on cancer prevention or detection or would like to share your story, please contact the Cancer Council or go to www.cancer.org.au.
Date Published: 18 December 2013
Our Voice, Summer 2013