One of the unexpected things that happened to me during my recovery from cancer surgery was the outpouring of gifts that I received.
Every gift I got was appreciated and welcomed. However, if I am being honest, it was not something that I ever anticipated that would happen. I felt blessed enough that I had received so many verbal, cyber and handwritten messages from concerned friends and family. I never would have guessed that getting comfort gifts (as I named them) would turn out to be so healing. It was a tangible reminder of how there were so many people out there that had spared the time and effort to send me something they thought I would get joy from. There was only one gift I received, howbeit, that I initially got distressed about. Distressed might be the wrong word, but I don’t know how else to describe my feelings at the time.
When I got home from hospital, there were packages waiting for me to unwrap. I had already received a beautiful arrangement of flowers from our daughter Crystal, which though I appreciated at the time, I had wished she had not spent the money on. I would much rather have her spend her hard earned money on herself or her children. Can you imagine my amazement when I saw another package from her? I opened it up and was shocked to see a stunning quilt. Being the person that I am, I immediately calculated how much this would have cost her and was upset that she would have done this for me.
I was torn between loving the gesture, but knowing that she could ill afford to send me such an extravagant gift. As I unfolded the quilt and marveled at the quality, softness and beauty of it, I started to quietly cry. My husband asked me what was wrong and I told him that I could not accept this from Crystal. It was just too much!
That was when my education began. When I spoke to Crystal she told me that the quilt had been of no cost to her, other than the time and effort it took to contact Victoria’s Quilts of Canada and request a quilt for me. There was even no charge for delivery! I was relieved, not only because I now knew that Crystal had not gone all financially crazy, but also because I could keep the quilt!!!!!!!
Victoria’s Quilts Canada has been physically comforting people with cancer since 2000.
It was founded by Betty Griffin of Ottawa in October of 2000. She asked a group of friends to discuss the possibility of people getting together to make quilts to donate to people with cancer in Canada. It started slowly, but the idea gained interest and momentum. In its first year VQC distributed 16 quilts to people with cancer. Since then it has grown to include about 25 branches across Canada and 20 friends’ groups in the Ottawa area. It currently distributes 500 quilts EACH MONTH!
Their mission is simple: they hope to provide physical comfort to those dealing with cancer, as well as spiritual comfort in knowing they are not alone in their struggle.
I can tell you unequivocally that, for me, their mission was accomplished. For those of you that have been through cancer or some other terrible disease, I know I am preaching to the choir when I say how much it takes a toll on you. Not the physical part. That, quite frankly (at least for me) is the easiest to deal with. It is the emotional and mental price you pay that can be overwhelming at times.
I can’t explain it, but when I covered myself up in that quilt and got it all tucked around me, I felt better. It was like it had healing properties. I know at least one reader understands this as she had a special blanket as a child that remains with her today. When talking to this person before my surgery, she offered to loan this blanket to me. As she wrote to me: “I am willing to loan you my blanket, Sam, because…Sam has magical powers and can get anyone through anything… at least that is what I told my daughter who now sleeps with Sam beside her bed…but she’ll be happy to share”. Well, M, while I did not want to take your blanket from your daughter, it looks like I have my own now!
Dear readers: if you are at all looking for a charity to donate to this Christmas, I would urge you to consider Victoria’s Quilts Canada. They are fortunate to receive donations of cotton fabric from local stores and businesses, and from individuals who may be downsizing or culling their fabric stash. However, they often need to purchase additional cotton fabrics to augment their inventory, and they must purchase the batting and flannelette.
Your donation will be used to purchase the materials needed to make the quilts and to pay for their distribution to people with cancer across Canada. As this is a volunteer non-profit organization, no one receives a salary. There is no budget for Board activities, and Board members are not reimbursed for expenses related to their involvement. You can make a donation in memory of a loved one, to celebrate a birthday, graduation, anniversary, or wedding. All donations of $20 or more will be issued a receipt for income tax purposes. For more information, just click on the link provided and go to Donate. http://www.victoriasquiltscanada.com. Thank you!!!
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