That beautiful smiling face up there is Savannah, who in 2006 was diagnosed with Stage IV Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Since September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I want to share an old blog post with you - the story of the quilt we made for Savannah.
This quilt has a great story..... A couple of days after Christmas, I received a package of blocks from Diane over at Life Scraps containing some pretty pink and green blocks and block kits, and some purple scraps that she was donating to our church's quilt ministry. When I e-mailed her to let her know they had arrived, she told me that the purple scraps were originally intended to be made up in another rendition of this quilt, but she decided she didn't want to make the same quilt twice. So I put the scraps in a bag with the intention of making up her pretty squares quilt sometime in the future.
Cut now to the second week in January. I got an e-mail from a friend at church asking us to make a quilt for Savannah, a ten-year old girl with cancer - she has been battling it a long time and just got some unfavorable test results. Anyway, I e-mailed her back and asked her if she knew anything about the Savannah's color preferences or likes and dislikes, and she told me she'd see what she could find out and get back to me.
The next morning, we woke up to lots of snow and no travel because the roads were so bad. Faced with a toddler-less day and a sewing machine, I headed upstairs to my studio to work on some old projects! After I finished one, I checked the computer to see if my friend had e-mailed me with any more info on the little girl. Nothing there. So I decided to go ahead and work with the purple fabrics, and if it didn't work for Savannah, we'd just give the quilt to someone else. I worked on it all afternoon, adding a few purple fabrics I had and some white fabric, and got 30 blocks done for the center of the quilt.
Still no information from my friend, but it occurred to me that Savannah might have a Caring Bridge webpage, so I checked, and lo and behold, she did! I went in to her photo section to see if I could tell anything about her favorite colors - - - and her entire bedroom is decorated in purples and apple green!! So I went ahead and finished the quilt top, knowing that this little girl's quilt had been determined long before I even heard about her!
I even found a piece of white and purple print in my stash that would work, colorwise, with the front of the quilt - but I was worried about it being too traditional compared to the contemporary front. I took it to church to show some of my fellow quilters to get their read on it, and happened to run into Keri, a good friend of Savannah and her family. Keri saw the fabric and without my even mentioning it, asked if it would be part of her quilt - because it had butterflies on it, and butterflies are Savannah's favorites!
I named this quilt "Hope" - and the name is worked into the quilting on one of the blocks. Our prayer was for it to bring Savannah hope every day!
But working with our quilt ministry, one of the hardest things we have to accept is that sometimes the recipients of our quilts don't survive the illness that brought them to our attention. It's so hard - even if we don't know the person personally, they become part of our own little world as we make the quilt for them and pray for them. See that beautiful smile right over there? Sweet Savannah went home in March, and is dancing with the angels now. She touched so many lives while she was here - there are green bows all over town in her honor, put up months ago in support of her fight against cancer.
Recently a group of us were sewing on some quilts, and one of the staff members at church came in to tell us that when hospice was called in, Savannah asked that the quilt we made be put on her bed. She also asked that the quilt go with her body to the funeral home when it was time. Her family brought the quilt home after the funeral, and hopefully it will continue to provide comfort for many years to come.
The fabric for this quilt was donated by a fellow quilt blogger. Unknowingly, she sent the perfect fabric for this little girl's quilt at just the right time. Thankfully, we have a Father who watches over us all the time and provides for our needs. Every day, working with this quilt ministry, I am reminded of that fact. I'm grateful to have been a small part of Savannah's story, and I'm grateful for what she taught me about God's love through her life.
I never met Savannah in person, but she changed my life. I now know that God cares about even the little things. I learned this week that Savannah's middle name was Hope. God knew that writing "Hope" on her quilt would mean much to her and her family! I am forever indebted to Savannah for the lessons I have learned through her life.
Thank you for allowing to share her story again with you. Help spread the word that we need to work for the cure for childhood cancer!!