Cancer patients comforted by church quilts
Click here to watch KGW Newschannel 8's story on the Piecemakers.
It’s a sunny Friday morning and Milwaukie Lutheran Church’s Fellowship Hall is alive with the sounds of over 30 women operating sewing machines, organizing yards of colorful fabric, preparing lunch, and of course, socializing.
For the last 17 years, the women of Milwaukie Lutheran, also known as the “Piecemakers,” have been gathering in Fellowship Hall the first and the third Fridays of the month in the same fashion to make quilts for those who need it the most.
Dee Dee Watson is one of two co-chairs of the Piecemakers and has been quilting for most of her life.
“This group started because of our love of quilting and it has morphed into an outlet of giving back to others who need some extra love and support,” explained Dee Dee.
Among the lucky recipients of these beautifully hand crafted quilts are the patients in Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center’s Cancer Care Unit. Marti Leuthold, a nurse in Good Sam’s Cancer Care Unit for over 35 years, serves as the connection to the Piecemakers. Her sister Janne is an active member and delivers quilts to the Northwest Portland hospital when the cabinet, which was custom built during the unit’s remodel in 2012, starts to get low.
“The quilts are so colorful and innovative – no two look alike. They truly transform the hospital room,” said Marti. “Patients and their families are so appreciative they often become tearful. It is especially moving when the patient passes and the family is able to take the quilt home with them to remember their loved one after they are gone.”
Betty Berg is Dee Dee’s co-chair of the Piecemakers and she treasures being able to make quilts for those who truly need it.
“We get the sweetest thank you cards from families explaining that they couldn’t take their husband or wife home but were able to take the quilt and they cherish it because it still smells like them,” lamented Betty. “It makes me tear up because I know how big of a difference we are making in what is probably one of hardest moments in their life.”
Last year, the Piecemakers completed 552 quilts and distributed 574 across the city with the reserve surplus from 2014.
In addition to quilts, the group crocheted and knits prayer shawls and hats for patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.
The Piecemakers rely 100 percent on fabric, monetary and in-kind donations from a diverse group of donors, including grateful patients and nurses who have seen the impact of the quilts, to purchase quilting supplies.
For media-related questions, please contact Megan Deisler.