Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
As a cancer survivor, I wanted to give back to a program at the Lancaster Family YMCA which has been instrumental in my recovery. My solution: make a quilt to be auctioned online in October to help to raise money and awareness for this remarkable program. Since then I found out that one of my best buddies from this program bought the quilt at the auction. That is so special to me.
CaRE (Cancer Recovery Exercise), now LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, is life changing, with a focus on exercise, wellness and community. Through it I have gotten stronger and have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
This quilt is my way of telling the story of the circles that support me and all the positive things that happened in my life from the time of diagnosis through recovery. It was action October 2019 and the money raised went to the YMCA Annual Campaign and helped to support LIVESTRONG and the YMCA's mission of providing this program to any cancer survivor, free of charge!
The meaning behind each circle
Diagnosis and Support
I used mottled gray fabrics with flecks of gold because cancer, at best, is a dark cloud, but I was lucky to have many gold flecks shinning through. My family showed through example how to battle cancer and support people going through it. I knew I was facing a fight but having this love and support, knowing that much more was available if I choose to reach out, was gold.
Purple was the color of my YMCA CaRE program and the touches of silver represent the brightness it brought into my life. Cancer taught me that life is too short to limit yourself. It made it easier to walk into a class with total strangers and take on exercise that I had not done for years. This class was a game changer for me, pushing me to do more and want more in my life.
Classic blue calico reminds me of freedom. It is very stressful to feel you have the imperative to fix the wrongs of the world. Cancer gave me the freedom to step back, focus on my health and decide how I will choose to "leave the world better than I found it."
This fabric reminds me of the night sky and because of where I live, I have to remember to look up to see the stars. The two mindfulness classes I took at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute were enlightening. I still have to be mindful, to be mindful. . . but I don't mind!
CaRE to Continue/LIVESTRONG
A darker purple was the perfect choice for CaRE to Continue because the program was such a rich experience. Ours was the first class allowed to continue with CaRE after the first round. It encouraged me to keep pursuing fitness, it bonded my friendships and inspired me by the people in each new round of classes.
CaRE members gather occasionally to make mastectomy pillows for the patients of the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute. We mark them with "Peace, Courage, Heath, Hope" and attach inspirational tags so they know they were made by people who have been there. It is a great way to give back.
"Kermit" has forever linked the color green to gratitude for me. Mom cared for me; my "Other Mothers" were at the ready to listen/do; my neighbors looked after "my boys" and home; my friends supported me in perfect ways; my medical team was outstanding; and my trainers were supportive. I am truly blessed.
I took a year to find myself. I hung out at the Y, played with pottery and stained glass, enjoyed time with Mom, family and old and new friends, cuddled the cats, noticed stars and butterflies, and took time to breathe.
Yellow fabric represents light and "namaste" means "The light and love in me honors the light and love in you." Yoga introduced me to this word and I try to live it each day by seeking out ways to honor others: thanking a veteran, holding a door, sharing a kind word. Little things are not little. Namaste.
Orange is my sister/hero's signature color and she has always been an amazing example of love in my life. Through cancer, I have strengthened bonds with my loved ones and have gotten to know remarkable people who have enriched my life. Through it, I am more keenly aware of how love abounds in my life. There are much easier paths to discovering love and I pray that no more must follow this one.
This is the only fabric I didn't already own and I went to at least three stores to find it. Its colors and design speak to my path as I move on. I see endless possibilities and for the first time I feel I am actively crafting my life. Life is good.
In the quilt no circle stands alone forming an interlocking chain reaction. It is significant that the links of the chain that connect all others are:
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Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.