Pediatric Cancer

Quilts for Cure

Why Quilts for Cure is Important

Quilts for Cure -- Encouraging children who have childhood cancer

Hello again, Quilty Friends!

I have a story to tell you, but first let's take a few moments to look at some sobering facts: 46 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer today. The National Cancer Institute only gives about 4% of their annual funding toward researching childhood cancers, and as a result there has been almost no progress on treatment options since the 1980s. At least 3 children will DIE today because of the lack of new drugs and therapies. Some cancers, like the brain cancer DIPG have a 0% survival rate. Children diagnosed with DIPG are sent home on hospice for whatever time they have left. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children, and even those who survive are left with lifelong complications and health risks—complications and risks that often claim their lives sooner rather than later.

Quilts for Cure -- Encouraging children who have childhood cancer

Two and a half years ago, a beautiful girl named Kylie Myers died from bone cancer. She was 12 years old, and she was one of the most beautiful people I’d ever had the privilege to know. Three years before that, her best friend Bailey Moody had a rotationplasty amputation to survive a very similar bone cancer. Two girls in a small class of about 60 at their school. Cancer is more common than we realize. And its effects are so devastating that they are hard to look at straight on. Have you thought about that? When it comes to really hard things, sometimes the best we can do is kind of scooch up and give them the side-eye before backing away again. We “go gold” in September and donate a dollar at the grocery store, and then we try to forget that something as horrible as childhood cancer exists in our world. 

I refuse to forget. 

Kylie’s dying charge to her family was to kill cancer. I don’t have to be her flesh and blood to accept that challenge. 

Bailey lived—but she lost her leg and her best friend. Those are devastating losses nonetheless. 

I taped Kylie’s picture above my ironing board. I make myself look the reality of cancer full in the face every day. 

It’s hard. 

Somedays I’m not so good at it. 

But I try my hardest—for Kylie, for Bailey, for their mamas, daddies, siblings, and for a bunch of other kiddos and families who have captured my heart. Trucker. Abri. Kate. Grant. Katharine. Gayle. And more… Too many more. Too many. 

I do my best at staring cancer in the face when I’m quilting. Like the very act of my own love and creativity can somehow beat back the evil of cancer. I’m not a scientist, but I wage my own war against cancer in my sewing room, a war that pushes back against the cold, the fear, the despair, the loneliness, the ugliness of cancer—quilt after quilt. Quilts for children to keep them warm while needles pump poison in the their veins—our pitiful attempts to rid their little bodies of a horrific disease. Quilts to hide under when the big world is so scary. Quilts to bring beauty, color, and cheer to yet another hospital room. Quilts with love in every fiber—love that I truly believe gets passed from me to these children and their families. Through quilting, I fight evil with love. 

Bailey and Kylie

Bailey and Kylie

I know a lot of other quilters who fight evil with love, too, so I created Quilts for Cure so we can fight together. We aren’t hunting for a pharmaceutical cure—we leave that to Kylie’s Daddy (Mark Myers) and the AMAZING team at CURE Childhood Cancer. Our love and our quilts enter the fray to encourage children and families who are emotionally exhausted by the turmoil of cancer. We are cheerleaders. Our quilts tell a child and his or her family, “WE SEE YOU!” While so many people only give childhood cancer the side eye once a year during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we stare that devil in the face every damn day and say, “No! You do not belong here, and we are going to KILL YOU!” And our love and our courage gains a little ground in this war. 

Quilts for Cure -- Encouraging children who have childhood cancer

When I told him about Quilts for Cure, Kylie’s Daddy said that it is good, and it is important for the emotional encouragement of families in the fight. “When your child has cancer, you’re in the fight because you HAVE to be,” he told me. “We’re so tired from our own fight. We need people like [Quilts for Cure] who CHOOSE to be in the fight because you bring fresh energy and hope.” 

What will you choose?

Will you CHOOSE to enter the fight?

Will you CHOOSE to stare childhood cancer in the face and fight back, rotary cutter in hand, with love, joy, and quilting? 

Will you CHOOSE to use your hobby and passion to comfort a child who is fighting his or her life?

Fight with me. Fight with us. Together, we will KILL CANCER for Kylie and for every child so that they can live happy, healthy, long, cancer-free lives!

(Quilts for Cure is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations are tax deductible)

Gold Forever, 

HollyAnne

Friday Fighters

Friday Fighter: Gayle Katzenback, Age 20

Gayle Katzenback, Swings Sarcoma Warrior

Good morning, Advocates and Warriors!

I know it's not actually Friday, but this story just can't wait because I need your help! 

Almost two years ago, an 18 year old Gayle was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. Her doctors were hopeful about her prognosis at the time, but after a year of typical cancer treatments, her cancer stopped responding and spread throughout her body. In December 2016, Gayle's doctors said she had stage 4 cancer, that there was nothing more that they could do, and she had six months to live. Gayle's family decided to look for other treatment options and have since been pursuing alternative methods in Arizona. NINE months later, Gayle is still fighting and her body has showed response to the treatment. Hooray! 

However, Gayle still has a long road full of treatments and struggles ahead of her. That means that she needs a quilt! Even more, she has two friends who are in treatment with her: 

Christine Danielle
18 years old - Fighting her 3rd Recurrence for Ewing's Sarcoma

Jazmin Ayotte (Soon to be Henson) 
20 yrs old - Stage 4 ACC

I'd like to send 3 #OperationSmiley quilts to Arizona for Gayle, Christine, and Jazmin. 

This is where I need your help.

The quilts are ready to go, but we need about $50 to cover shipping fees.

Please give $5 or $10 to help!

There is also a fourth friend being treated with these young ladies: Christie-- a wife and a mama of three littles with Stage 4 throat cancer. While QFC focuses on pediatric cancer patients, if you would like to send Christie a quilt (or quilts for her kiddos to comfort them as their mama fights), I would LOVE to connect you with her!!

Thank you all SO MUCH!

Go Gold,

HollyAnne

MoreThan4QAL

#MoreThan4QAL Week 4 :: Blocks 3/5

Tonya's blocks in progress

Tonya's blocks in progress

Good morning, Quilty Fighters! 

If you any of y'all are in Houston recovering from Harvey or in Florida preparing for Irma, our thoughts and prayers are with you! 

Just a quick update today! This past week, we did our second of five sets of blocks for the #MoreThan4QAL. I'm making the baby quilt, so that brings my total blocks to 10. This coming week we will do the same thing-- make 1/5th of our total number of blocks. And if you're new to the Quilt Along, these blocks are quick! Please join in with us!

This month is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, so I'll be doing a lot of reposting on Facebook to share stories of kiddos and facts about the plight of the pediatric cancer world with y'all. Please pay attention to the stories and the facts, even though they are hard to read and hard to process. Folks like most of us-- those who choose to enter this fight because we have the strength to do-- so have a lot of power to encourage the childhood cancer community and make a difference in the funding and research that is taking place. It is critical that we are both tenderhearted and informed. For those of you in our ranks who have watched a child fight cancer, you have our deepest respect and love. 

#MoreThan4QAL

Please be sharing your blocks on Instagram with #MoreThan4QAL! Together, we can make lots and lots of quilts to encourage all 40,000 children in treatment for cancer in the United States. 

Go Gold,

HollyAnne