Comforting People with Cancer
Réconforter les personnes avec le cancer
Victoria’s Quilts Canada was established in 2000 by Betty Giffin. VQC is a non-profit charitable organization, committed to providing comfort, both spiritually and physically, to individuals diagnosed with cancer. It is staffed entirely by volunteers who make quilts and distribute them to people diagnosed with cancer in Canada.
Victoria’s Quilts Canada was modeled on an organization in the United States, Victoria’s Quilts, which was established by Deborah Rogers in honour of Victoria Ann Morrison, a wife, mother, grandmother, and Deborah’s best friend. Victoria was also a cancer patient who often commented about being cold during her chemotherapy. Victoria was also a quilter who took the fear out of quilting by reassuring others that “since people are not perfect – quilts don’t have to be either.” Out of this grew Victoria’s Quilts.
In August of 1998, Betty Giffin learned about this effort and brought the idea to Canada. She started slowly with a handful of friends. In the first year, 16 quilts were distributed to adult cancer patients in the Ottawa area.
Over the past eight years, the organization has seen immense growth, and now includes some 800 volunteers in 20 groups in Ottawa and 18 communities across Canada. This growth enabled VQC to deliver its 10,000th quilt during January 2008, and it distributes an average of 250 quilts each month.
However, with the number of people stricken with cancer continually rising, VQC has also seen an increase in the demand for quilts. Although the organization has, to date, been able to meet all the requests, it is concerned that quilt production will soon not be able to keep up with the demand. Victoria’s Quilts Canada is actively looking for new people interested in sewing or quilting, or any of the non-sewing positions that need to be filled.
Victoria’s Quilts Canada also appreciates the support it has received from corporate sponsors, including many of the local quilt shops and Fabricland Distributors. But the major source of its funds is donations from private individuals, often the recipients of our quilts, and their families and friends. Victoria’s Quilts Canada also raises funds through raffles and direct solicitation, and through some innovative ideas, such as President Betty Giffin’s head-shaving in April 2008.
In addition, Victoria’s Quilts Canada holds an annual Quilt-a-Thon, in October, where about 100 quilters converge to make more than 100 quilts during the day. And besides the quilters, the volunteers include the administrative organizers, floor managers, food caterers, and clean up staff. A whole lot of people work towards making the day the successful endeavour that it is.
In addition, we hold an annual raffle of three major prizes. This year, the three prizes are two queen-size bed quilts and a lap quilt.
As well, anyone who wishes to get involved with Victoria’s Quilts Canada can contact us. No quilting experience is necessary, as there are many jobs that need to be filled, from administrative, to quilt delivery and counselling, to public relations. If a person is willing, we’ll find a job for them to do!
Here are some photos of the many quilts that have been sent to people over the last few months.
Contact Victoria Quilts:
By phone: (613) 843-9212
By fax: (613) 843-9131
Mishka’s Notes: I am a volunteer for Victoria Quilts meeting once a month to help baste quilts done by other members of my group. I would like to volunteer more, but don’t seem to have time right now. A friend and I participated in the Quilt-a-thon last year. It was a blast, I highly recommend others to get involved. I have raffle tickets, if anyone wants them, drop me an email and we’ll make arrangements.
Reminder: I’m putting together a blog post of links to other quilter’s posts about their charity efforts. If you would like to write something this month, or already have a post, please send it to me for inclusion.