I must confess, progress on many things has stalled a bit as I have officially tested positive for the flu. Ack. If you follow my personal quilty journey on Instagram @stringandstory, then you know that this week has been #flupocalypse at our house. I have been slow to reply to emails; thank you for being patient! I promise I’m catching up!
Today we are celebrating Stash Fabrics for being another fabric sponsor for #OperationSmiley. When I realized that we were going to make 10 quilts, I also realized we were going to need more fabric. You may know Stash from the Stash Fabrics Design Star Challenge, but you may not know that Stash is based just north of Atlanta, about 45 minutes from me. Thus, when I needed more fabric, I reached out and asked if they would help us encourage kids of our city. Marvelously, they said YES!
“Stash Fabrics is a family owned and operated online fabric store out of Alpharetta, GA. It was founded by Beth Louche after discovering her love of modern fabric. The business started as a hobby, but quickly grew into a full time gig of cutting and shipping fabric around the world. We are now a team of four lovely ladies and are working to open up a studio adjacent to the shop. While the online fabric store was the original dream, we now hope to fulfill the mission of spreading our love of creating within the community. Studio coming 2017!”
Stash sent three fabulous prints for borders and backings as well as white fabric for quilt labels. Thank you, Stash Fabrics!! I’m looking forward to the Stash studio opening up!
1) COMMENT Leave a comment saying THANK YOU to Stash Fabrics for supporting #OperationSmiley.
2) SHARE Spread the word about Quilts for Cure by copy and pasting this on Facebook or in an Instagram caption:
“Quilts for Cure exists to raise awareness about childhood cancer, to honor kids who are fighting or who have fought against cancer, to raise money for a cure, and to provide quilts for kids in treatment. We need YOU to defeat childhood cancer. Learn what you can do by visiting the website: www.quiltsforcure.org”
(Feel free to use photos from Quilts for Cure to share this information, as long as you give credit to the original source.)
3) QUILT The weekend is here. Can you make a block or two this weekend that will snowball into a quilt for a child? Don’t hesitate to be part of the quilting community that stands strong with the childhood cancer community. Remember, #LoveBeatsCancer
I wanted to pop in to touch base about what is going on at Quilts for Cure, ongoing project updates, and give you some action items for the week.
#OperationSmiley: Once again, I want to give a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has sent blocks, fabric, batting, thread, and more. I have one more corporate sponsor, Stash Fabrics, that I will blogging about soon, so keep an eye out to learn about them and send your thanks. We currently have 1 quilt completed, 2 at Red Hen to be quilted, and 1 that needs to be basted. Then, I have a gorgeous pile of blocks that will become 5-6 more quilts. One generous quilter, Gale Fisher, made a whole quilt and is having it quilted. While the yellow, navy, and white hearts will go to two hospitals here in Atlanta, this last quilt will serve a special purpose and go to a four year old girl, Katie, with leukemia whose mama emailed me this week. Thank you, Gale! (More about Katie soon! 🙂 )
E Pluribus Unum Project: The Georgia quilt is finally basted and ready for quilting! I’ve entered this quilt into a local show and should hear back in the next couple weeks if it will hang! Even though the back will not be showing, I would like it to be full of the names of Georgia childhood cancer fighters. Please help spread the word and ask families to email me their children’s names. I’m continuing to connect hexies for the first Florida quilt, and I’m already planning the first South Carolina quilt. Mathew Boudreaux, aka @MisterDomestic, generously sent some gorgeous scraps last week that will be perfect for incorporating into these quilts.
Donation Quilts: In the last week we have received two requests for quilts from families fighting against childhood cancer. One was Katie who I mentioned above, and the other was Nicholas who I mentioned last week. Gale is finishing the quilt for Katie, and my new friend Becky in Indiana has agreed to make a twin sized quilt for Nicholas. Thank you both so much!
501(c)(3) Status: Our incorporation finally cleared (huzzah!), two amazing women have agreed to be on our board with me, and we will have our first meeting very soon. After the board meeting, we will finish filing for nonprofit status, then kick off both our newsletter and our fundraising.
Upcoming Quilt Along: While Quilts for Cure always encourages quilters to make and donate completed quilts year round, we also love doing projects together. This summer, we will do a Quilt Along with a simple yet fun and flexible block. We will make just one block each week, and I’d encourage you to donate the finished quilt thru Quilts for Cure. I’ll share more next month, but I couldn’t resist a little teaser so y’all can save some summer quilting time for this!
1) SHARE Post the E Pluribus Unum Project blog post to your social media accounts and ask folks to spread the word. I want to fill the backs of all these quilts with the names of brave young cancer fighters, but their parents can’t email me their names unless they know about the project. Would you like me to honor your child on a quilt? Email me his or her name and home state at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org
2) QUILT As word continues to spread, I have no doubt that we will receive more specific requests for quilts. Go ahead and get started on a project, and let me know what age/gender it would be best for. Then, when a request comes, I can connect you with a special cancer fighting warrior right away! Plus, we are continuing to network with hospitals, so there is always a way to comfort an encourage a child with cancer through quilting.
3) RECRUIT Plan to participate in the Summer QAL and invite your friends and guild members to do the same. The key to Quilts for Cure is community– the community of quilters coming together and coming alongside families in the cancer fighting community. Together, we will beat cancer because #lovebeatscancer.
Today we are celebrating another generous #OperationSmiley donor– Aurifil Thread! Aurifil is an Italian thread company that was founded in 1983 near Milan. They are recognized across the quilting industry as top of the line threads that are available in an astonishing range of colors.
Aurifil 50 wt thread is my favorite for piecing and quilting, so I reached out to Bradley Mitchell, marketing director for Aurifil USA, via Instagram. Brad was kind and generous, and he immediately got the ball rolling for Quilts for Cure to receive thread. Several weeks later, I was thrilled to meet Brad as well as Alex Veronelli, CBDO of Aurifil, at QuiltCon and thank them in person for being part of #OperationSmiley.
Aurifil sent 5 spools each of 4 colors for #OperationSmiley (20 spools total), securing that all 10 #OperationSmiley Quilts and all of Quilts for Cure’s projects for the foreseeable future will be pieced and quilted with the best. Thank you, Aurifil!!
1) Comment Leave a comment saying THANK YOU, AURIFIL! for this generous donation!
2) Share If you missed yesterday’s post, please check that out and spread the word by sharing it. I am still hunting for a quilter to make Nicholas a twin sized quilt.
3) Share Continue spreading the word about The E Pluribus Unum Project by sharing that blog post as well. I want to honor as many childhood cancer fighters as possible! Does your child have cancer? Please email me their name and home state at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org so I can honor them on your state’s quilt!
First, I finished the first #OperationSmiley quilt! I haven’t counted up all the blocks recently, but I’m confident we will make 10 quilts. I took the components of quilts 2 and 3 to Red Hen today where they will be completed by students. I have pieced the main part of quilt 4, and will add borders tomorrow. I hope that I will also get it sandwiched and basted so that I can get back to quilting a column each night– both for progress on the quilts and for regular free motion quilting practice.
Second, I’m am searching for a willing quilter who lives in or near North Carolina. I received a message from a grandmother this week requesting a quilt for her 15 year old grandson, Nicholas, with an inoperable brain tumor. I think a twin sized quilt (70 x 90 inches) would be just right. If you are interested, please email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org, and I’ll get you more info. Also, please help spread the word!!
Finally, don’t forget that Quilts for Cure is accepting completed quilts. You can find out more info on our Donate Quilts page, or email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org.
1) Spread the word to help us find a quilter to make a twin sized quilt for Nicholas. If you’re interested, please email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org
2) Gather your orphan blocks, UFOs, and do some stash busting, and make a quilt for a child with cancer!
3) Tell your quilty friends and guild members about Quilts for Cure in person and on social media. Share this post!
PS Kylie’s mama was on the Hallmark Channel this morning with their kitty Liza. Check it out HERE.
I sat down to write about Katherine The Brave last night, but I was tired from a long week and just felt like I should wait till this morning when my mind is fresh so I can write well and honor her memory.
Katherine “Katie” King was born on February 26, 2009. She was an “old soul,” full of personality and intelligence and creativity. At the age of six, Katherine was diagnosed with DIPG, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a highly aggressive tumor at the base of the brain with a 0% (ZERO percent) survival rate and only a 9 month average survival period after diagnosis. Furthermore, DIPG has 0 (ZERO) treatment options, and pediatric brain cancers collectively receive only 1% of the National Cancer Institutes annual funding (All pediatric cancers collectively receive less than 4% of the NCI’s annual funding).
After Katherine was diagnosed on June 2, 2015, her mama, Jaime, began searching the internet for wisdom from people who had gone before her on this heart breaking road. Sadly, she found very little information because many people do not talk about pediatric cancer, even when they have experienced it, because it is so painful. Jaime decided that she would document Katherine’s journey, to make it her personal mission to make people MAD at childhood cancer.
Get MAD. Get mad that Katherine died from DIPG on June 6, 2016 at age 7. Get mad that her family had no options. Get mad that there are 300 families in the US each year that are sent home to watch their child die because there are no treatments for DIPG. Get mad that less than 4% of the NCI annual funding goes to children. Get mad and DO SOMETHING!
1) Share this blog post so that more people know about DIPG and childhood cancer. Encourage people to take ACTION.
2) Give Make a donation to CURE Childhood Cancer. In the comments of your donation write, “In Honor of Katherine the Brave King for DIPG research. Quilts for Cure Friday Fighter Initiative.”
3) Honor I want to share your child’s story as a Friday Fighter and honor them as part of the E Pluribus Unum Project. Please email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org
PS Thank you, Jaime, for allowing me to use y’all’s Facebook Page as a resource. Y’all check out this Babble article about Jaime’s mission, too.
I know it’s Tuesday, not Friday, but Quilts for Cure has received a lot of generosity lately, and there are kiddos I want to feature on Fridays, so we’re going to mix it up a bit and share about The Warm Company today.
The Warm Company is based in Washington state and was founded in 1979, and they are my go-to for batting because of the quality and accessibility of their product. They are also an American based company with an American made product: “3 million pounds of American cotton – grown by American farmers – processed annually in our American factories by American workers for Quilting – an American tradition proudly shared around the world – We are The Warm Company.”
As y’all know, finding willing batting donors has been the hardest part of #OperationSmileybecause many companies either only give to 501(c)(3) organizations, or they sell batting at a steep discount (which is still too expensive for us since we aren’t fundraising yet). The Warm Company sells discounted batting to non-profits but they also have prepackaged boxes of batting to send to initiatives like ours who are just getting started.
We received 1 queen size batting and 2 baby sized 100% Cotton Battings from The Warm Company. In all, that’s enough for about 3 #OperationSmiley quilts! Many thanks to Lindsey in Customer Service and The Warm Company for helping #OperationSmiley succeed!
1) Leave a comment for The Warm Company telling them Thank You for being part of #OperationSmiley
2) Share the blog post from last week about the E Pluribus Unum Project. I am actively working on the Georgia and Florida quilts, but I am collecting names of childhood cancer fighters in all 50 states.
Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm! 16 more blocks have already arrived this week and word is spreading about the E Pluribus Unum Project! Looking ahead, our incorporation will hopefully be approved any day now, and then we will be able to start fundraising so that we can pursue an even greater impact in the lives of brave families fighting against childhood cancer and give money to CURE Childhood Cancer’s research projects to help find a CURE!
I hope you’ve had a fabulous week! #OperationSmiley is steadily moving toward 10 quilts, and I’m working away on the first Florida E Pluribus Unum Quilts.
Speaking of which, I will be adding today’s Fighter, Naomi Black, to the Ohio E Pluribus Unum Quilt. Naomi is a seven year pediatric brain cancer survivor, after being diagnosed at only 7 weeks old. Her mama, Sandy, generously wrote a bit of Naomi’s story for us:
“Following an uneventful second pregnancy, Naomi was born via emergency cesarean section because her heart rate plummeted during an induced labor. Upon arrival, she was whisked to the special care nursery for respiratory issues and an irregular heart beat. While still recovering from the delivery, a neonatologist explained that Trisomy “of some kind” was suspected. It was learned after about a week that she has Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21.
Once at home and nursing like a champ, Naomi was monitored closely for poor weight gain and a rapidly increasing head circumference. As the sutures separated and her head became misshapen, an ultrasound was finally ordered. It was at this appointment that the presence of a brain tumor was revealed. I was told to take her to the local children’s hospital emergency room immediately. Naomi was only 7 weeks old.
It was pure chaos once we arrived, with countless physicians and nurses coming into our room to “examine” her. The neurosurgeon was in disbelief that Naomi was behaving normally at home and had not had any seizures. She was admitted for what became more than a week long stay, having a procedure first to relieve the pressure inside of her head, an MRI to see exactly what was going on inside of it, and then the tumor resection.
The surgery lasted nearly eight hours. Naomi was under anesthesia and heavily sedated for a total of four days. Once she was awake again, it was another chaotic roller coaster ride, with various complications, postponements of extubation, what seemed like hundred more doctors coming in to “examine” her, then finally a diagnosis – immature teratoma, also known as a “monster twin”. These tumors are made up of all of the components necessary to create another human being, but they are completely disorganized. I learned later that Naomi’s apparent popularity with all of the doctors was because of the size of her tumor. It turns out that no one had seen a tumor that large (about a kiwi) in a patient who was so small.
Naomi had a couple of setbacks after being released from the hospital following the tumor resection. Gratefully, she has not been hospitalized since she was about 18 weeks old, in September of 2009.
Life after tumor resection wasn’t much different than it was for my other child, that is, until Naomi was about a year and a half old. All types of delays started becoming apparent and she began to receive supportive therapy services from the county. When she turned 3, her case was turned over to the public school system. She’s been in preschool since she was three years old, and is now finishing her second year of kindergarten.
Aside from services that she receives at school, Naomi also attends private therapy at a variety of locations, including both local hospitals. She has also played baseball with the Miracle League and soccer with T.O.P. Soccer. She will be eligible to participate in the Special Olympics when she turns 8 this coming May. I think she’s going to try bowling.
While everything sounds pretty fine and dandy, let me assure you that this life – life with disability, life after a childhood cancer diagnosis – is far from fine, or dandy for that matter. It is challenging, highly stressful, and chaotic on a daily basis. But it is also the most rewarding experience that I have ever had. Sadly, her sibling draws the short straw most days, having to tag along to as many as three appointments in a day just as soon as she gets home from school. That’s just the therapy. There are many, many medical appointments as well, that usually get worked into all of the school holidays and breaks, because there just isn’t any other place to put them.
Naomi’s diagnosis of Down syndrome has all but disappeared under the mask of the residual effects of the brain tumor. I usually tell people the only way you’d know she has Down syndrome is by how stinking cute she is! The tumor caused a partial paralysis on her left side, adding the label of cerebral palsy to her ever growing list of diagnoses. It also caused a partial blindness, called hemianopsia, and another visual impairment called Cortical Vision Impairment. Naturally, it also caused a lot of damage to her brain. While she is chronologically almost eight years old, developmentally, she is closer to 2 years old. She continues to make progress, but it is slow. She is an excellent teacher in the area of patience!
Naomi’s early story was chronicled for friends and family on Caring Bridge. If you’d like to take a look, her page name is Naomi Caroline. I updated occasionally, when we have big news to share. Most often, I update and share photos on her Facebook page, Naomi’s Novel Neurons. Feel free to like and follow that page if you’d like to offer encouragement and see her reach new goals.”
Thank you, Sandy! Your daughter is beautiful, and we are honored to know her story!
1) Leave a message of encouragement for Sandy and Naomi on Naomi’s page
2) Continue to share about the E Pluribus Unum Project so I can add more names to the quilts. Has your child fought or is he or she fighting childhood cancer? Email me his or her name and home state at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org so I can include them!
3)Would you like to share your child’s story? I’d love to feature him or her as a Friday Fighter! Email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org
Trucker’s memorial service is today. In his honor, remember:
#OperationSmiley is moving along marvelously (I think we’re going to make 10 quilts!), so I thought it was time to introduce you to another big effort we have going on: The E Pluribus Unum Project.
The E Pluribus Unum Project is a series of art quilts made to honor children who have fought or are fighting childhood cancer. I am creating a total of 102 36×36 inch quilts– 2 per state, plus one for Washington DC and one representing the US as a whole. The front of the quilts feature either the silhouette of a state or the silhouette of a state capital skyline, and on the backs of the quilts I am writing the names of children. The goal is for these quilts to be displayed together with both sides of the quilts showing so that the fronts are beautiful pieces of art and the backs create a “memorial wall,” not unlike the Vietnam Memorial in DC, to honor these brave children.
Sadly, I know that there are more than enough names of kids on our country to fill the backs of all of these quilts. But many people don’t realize that, so it’s important that we spread the word, fill these quilt backs with names, and help people understand how heartbreakingly common childhood cancer really is.
A number of families have already sent me their children’s names, and I’m so thankful! (And if you have emailed me, and you don’t see your name, please email me again! I don’t want to miss anyone!!) Current roll call:
* Indicates a child who passed away from childhood cancer
Please take a moment to reflect on these names and honor these kids.
Spread the word! Please share this information and ask others to do the same. Invite families you know who have fought or are fighting childhood cancer to send me the name of their child and their home state. They can email me at hollyanne (@) quiltsforcure.com.
Before I introduce today’s ally, I have some hard news. Trucker Dukes passed away this morning (3/3/17) in his mama’s arms. Please take a moment to pause and honor Trucker’s life and his fight against childhood cancer. Moving forward, please keep the Dukes family in your thoughts and prayers.
Today’s Ally is Craftsy, a place for the “endlessly curious and insatiably creative.” Craftsy is best known for its online video classes, but they also sell crafting supplies and patterns. As y’all know, it has been a bit challenging to find batting sponsors for #OperationSmiley. But when I reached out to Craftsy, they had a box in the mail to me by the end of the week. And they tucked in some fabric, too!
I highly recommend Craftsy if you are looking for a community of creative learners. I learned basic quilting techniques– and, perhaps most importantly, how to safely use a rotary cutter– on Craftsy. And, if you are already a quilter, you might consider expanding your library with my girl Christa Watson’s class, The Quilter’s Path. In addition, Craftsy offers classes about a variety of non-quilts topics: knitting, cooking, art, and more!
Craftsy, thank you so much for your generosity and for being part of #OperationSmiley! And thank you, June, for being the loveliest of contacts! Y’all can find Craftsy on their website, on Instagram, or on Facebook.
1) Leave a COMMENT telling Craftsy thank you for supporting #OperationSmiley
2)Leave a COMMENT of condolence on Trucker’s Facebook Page for his family
3) SHARE one of the Quilts for Cure social media accounts or your favorite Quilts for Cure blog post with your friends to help spread the word. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook @quiltsforcure
Thank you for joining our fight against childhood cancer!
We’ve been busy busy as usual! As you may know, I journeyed to Savannah last weekend for the Modern Quilt Guild’s annual QuiltCon. I had Saturday on the show floor, and it was a very exciting day of networking and admiring quilts. I hope that I’ll have some exciting new relationships to announce to y’all in the weeks and months ahead. And, if you’d like to read more about QuiltCon in general, I wrote a summary article on my String and Story Blog that includes lots of pictures of amazing quilts.
Speaking of relationships, I was able to connect with the folks at Aurifil at the show. Aurifil is sending thread from their headquarters in Italy to finish the #OperationSmiley quilts. I loved being able to thank Brad and Alex in person!
The Quilt Alliance is an organization who is dedicated to the documentation of quilt stories. I had brought 3 quilts with me (one #OperationSmiley quilt and two E Pluribus Unum Quilts), so I made video recordings about their significance. When the links go up, I’ll be sure to share!
The second #OperationSmiley quilt top is up on my design wall now, and we are up to a total of 150 blocks– 7.5 quilts! We still have need of 100% cotton batting for completing some of the quilts, so if you have any connections for that, please email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org.
Also in the wake of all this excitement, Quilts for Cure is now accepting completed quilts for donation! We are only donating to two hospitals here in Atlanta for now, but we are working on expanding our network. Our goal is for you, dear quilter, to be able to donate to a hospital in your state or region so that you are literally blessing your neighbors. All the donation information is available on our Donate Quilts page.
1) Email me if you have any leads on batting donations. Please remember that we’re not a 501(c)(3) yet, so we can’t work with companies that require that at this time.