A local quilter is donating her time and skills to brighten the day of people in hospice care.
Linda Allan has been quilting for 15 years. She belongs to two local guilds plus she and her friends get together on their own to quilt together.
“I just love, love, love, quilting,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
“I love working with the colours and I love making something out of nothing,” she said.
Allan had donated two large hand-made quilts to the 100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society earlier that same day.
Large quilts, like the ones Allan donated, can each take a couple of weeks for her to complete. But for her, donating quilts means they don’t pile up and she can keep making more.
“Now I’ve got a place that I think will benefit from them and then I get to keep making them and it’s like win-win, right.”
Allan said it was a fellow guild member who introduced the idea to her when she mistakingly told her the guild was making quilts for hospice. Her colleague later corrected herself and said they were making comfort quilts for chemotherapy patients.
The mistaken information got Allan thinking about people in hospice.
She said her dad was in hospice a long time ago and she witnessed volunteers taking care of him.
While some people are great at communicating with people who are in their last days, she said she prefers to be “in the background,” helping quietly.
Allan took to a quilting Facebook group, to ask whether it would be worthwhile to make quilts for hospice patients.
She said she got 50 comments from women across Canada.
“I don’t just mean a sentence or, ‘Way to go, Linda,’” she said. “They were stories from nurses that worked with hospice patients, there were people who lost loved ones who received a quilt…”
She said one woman who received a quilt said she often thinks about the person who made it for her.
“It just gave me shivers to think, ‘Hey, I could be that person. I could be that mystery person that brought some brightness into somebody’s life.”
Now, Allan aspires to encourage other quilters to do the same.
Tracy Haddow, executive director of the 100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society, said she gets to meet a lot of wonderful volunteers, so Allan’s gesture wasn’t all that shocking.
“It really didn’t surprise me, but it inspired me,” she said.
“There’s something amazing about a handmade quilt that, you know, somebody’s put time and effort and care in and they give it away to you. I think that’s pretty beautiful.”
Haddow said they could use more volunteers in the palliative care centre.
The 100 Mile Hospice Palliative Care Society is holding a training session from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 13 to 14 and 27 to 28, to equip people with the skills to support people in their last days.
“The reality is our community has a very high demographic of older people and every single one of us, at some point in our lives will face the fact that one of our loved ones is dying,” she said. “Every one of us is going to die.”
While you often hear people say it takes a community to raise a child, Haddow said she believes, “It also takes a community to support our loved ones as they’re going through the process of dying.”
For more information, or to register for the training session, you may contact Haddow at 250-395-7680.
In the meantime, Allan is urging other quilters to join her in donating their quilts.
“If they have fabric that’s left over, why not use it to make something cheery to brighten somebody’s day,” said Allan.