• Jasmine Sharma

Quilters bring comfort to palliative care patients


PHOTO BY MADELEINE LANGLOIS

The patience and creativity of members of the Hudson Village Quilters guild is simply admirable.

A few times a month, in church basements or community centres across the country, quilters gather to socialize and share their knowledge and love of quilting. There are over 40 quilting guilds in the province of Quebec alone. The expertise or experience of quilters may vary but their patience and creativity is simply admirable. From envisioning the initial design to sewing the top, batting, and backing together, each quilt can take between 10 to 20 hours to complete. It is no wonder that hand-made quilts can cost hundreds of dollars to purchase.

Imagine putting all that time, effort and creativity into making a unique quilt that you just give away? Such generous and selfless artisans did just that, right here in Vaudreuil-Soulanges. Over a dozen members of the Hudson Village Quilters Guild worked meticulously to create several bed and lap quilts which they donated to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence (VSPCR) this past June. The Guild, celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall, also raffled a hand-sewn quilt on which all of its 70 members collaborated. The $2,600 raised from the raffle was donated to the residence in support of its mission: welcoming terminally-ill patients of all ages, free of charge, to offer them specialized palliative care so they may live their final moments with respect and dignity.

Meredith Royds, a 12-year veteran of the Hudson Village Quilters and this project’s coordinator, explains how it all began. “We first thought of doing something for the residence even before it was built ten years ago.” What started as a project at that time to make one sampler quilt ballooned into 27 bed quilts and five lap quilts. “The project grew like Topsy!” chuckles Royds.

After 10 years of operation, the Residence’s supply of quilts needed replenishing. Some families formed an attachment to the colourful quilts which warmed and comforted their loved ones during their final moments. Others withered from the thousands of wash cycles they endured to welcome over 750 patients who have passed through the residence.

PHOTO BY MADELEINE LANGLOIS

Phyllis Moody, Patricia Maranda, Meredith Royds, Claudia Gass and Frances Ceriko, Julie-Anne Lambert (Executive Director of the VSPCR), Marlyse Horst,

Annette Hale, Carole Yeon, Lise Filiatrault, Anne Symonds, Margo Prince and Aileen Hodgson.

The Hudson Village Quilters Guild was approached in 2015 to see if more quilts could be made to replace those lost over the years and those too worn for continued use. Its members worked tirelessly over 18 months to gather donated material, coordinate quilting sessions and find sponsors to cover certain costs like paying for the batting and the necessary machine finishing to ensure durability. Their labour of love yielded seven bed quilts and eight lap quilts to keep patients’ legs warm if they are sitting in a wheel chair. Each bed quilt’s value ranges between $500 to $800 depending on the pattern’s intricacy.

“The quilts personalize each room and brighten them with color,” said Monique Sasseville, Clinical Advisor at the residence. “We truly appreciate the detail and work put into each quilt. They are handmade works of art donated to the residence for the benefit of all our patients,” she adds. As part of the admissions process, staff who prepare a patient’s room before arrival will pick a quilt based on its colors and patterns to suit the incoming patient’s gender. When a patient passes away, the quilt is washed, folded and tucked into a cabinet until another needs its colourful patterns to brighten the room, warm the bed and bring comfort. Words cannot express how grateful the Palliative Care Residence is for the creative minds, generous spirits and caring hands that quilted for its patients.

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