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FirstHealth quilt has special meaning for special people

| Date Posted: 2/4/2010

FirstHealth quilt has special meaning for special people
February 4, 2010

Joy Martin

More than 100 people, some of them battling cancer, added messages to this colorful quilt that hangs outside the Radiation Oncology waiting room at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. Local quilters who worked on the piece that was donated to the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation include (from left) Bobbie Marder, Joann Hanley, Rosemary Hansult and Roseann Kornichuk.

PINEHURST – The quilt is special in 100-plus different ways.

Some of its pastel blocks contain Bible verses: John 3:16, Philippians 4:13 and others. Some have signatures, some with a date and some without.

The most touching include personal messages of faith and hope:

“Life is worth fighting for. Don’t give up. I haven’t.”

“Always, always have HOPE.”

“If you believe, you will achieve.”

From its frame outside the Radiation Oncology waiting room at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, this unique piece of art pays tribute to people who have somehow been affected by cancer.

Some of those represented have beaten the odds and survive, while others lost their fight after leaving a tiny piece of themself on the quilt. Their names are familiar to the people who work in the cancer services programs that are housed along this corridor in Moore Regional’s Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“We have all had someone close to us who has been touched by cancer,” says Joann Hanley, FirstHealth Hospice Foundation Board member and quilter. “We wanted to share the hopes and prayers of some of the patients with others so that they might be comforted, knowing they were not alone in dealing with their own fight against cancer.”

Designed by Rosemary Hansult of Rosemary’s Quilting Room in Pinehurst, the 40-by-80-inch quilt boasts the talents of Hansult and 15 or so other women who meet regularly at her shop to enjoy each other’s company while working on quilting projects and improving their quilting skills. Its inspiration came from an earlier project the group did in memory of Gina Piper, a talented quilting buddy who lost her own long cancer fight last year.

“Gina made a very, very big impression on all our lives,” Hansult says.

The quilt takes on an even greater meaning when you consider that some of the seamstresses who poured their talents into it have themselves faced their own cancer challenge.

Polly Bell, planned giving officer for the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation, recognized the special nature of the quilt in a thank-you note to Hansult and her friends after they donated it to the hospital.

“The quilt is a visual reminder that the people who are facing a serious illness are not alone,” Bell said in her message. “The personalized ornaments and the quilt provide a wonderful means for patients to share their thoughts with current and future cancer patients, cancer survivors and caregivers. The soothing colors on the quilt may bring some tranquility to those who are troubled.”

The individual messages, in heart-shaped and square blocks that Hansult calls “ornaments,” are attached with buttons to a more elaborately quilted background. Hansult and her friends sewed them on with loving precision. Some of the seamstresses also assisted with the hand embroidery in the quilt while others machine-embroidered the “ornaments.”

A few of the seamstresses signed a block and left their own message.

Hansult, a seamstress for more than 70 years and twice president of the Sandhills Quilters Guild, regularly orchestrates quilted donations to area non-profits. She and her friends have made quilts and Christmas stockings for veterans in nursing homes and the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville.

They recently donated a quilt to the Habitat for Humanity house constructed during an all-female build.

There are reasons for their generosity. Quilts give comfort to people, says Hansult, and the Radiation Oncology quilt serves as a “visual reminder that people facing serious illness are not alone.”

“Quilts are more than just blankets to warm our bodies,” says Hansult. “More importantly, they warm our souls.”

For more information, call the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation at (910) 695-7500.

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