For the past 12 years, The Ritzy Thimble Quilters’ Guild has been brightening the lives of cancer patients who must travel for treatment and who find a home-away-from-home at Methodist Medical Center’s Hospitality Houses. The Hospitality Houses provide a welcoming, home-like atmosphere for their guests – often cancer patients and their families – who live too far away to make the daily trips needed to receive treatment at Methodist Medical Center.
The services of the Hospitality Houses are offered free of charge and are supported through the generous donations of the community.
One local organization, The Ritzy Thimble Quilters’ Guild, offers a unique kind of support to the cancer patients at the Hospitality Houses. The Guild’s members provide lap quilts for each patient staying at the houses. While every quilt is different, they are all made in the same pattern of generosity and compassion.
“Our goal in making these quilts is to comfort the patients, both physically and emotionally,” said Celia Shanks, organizer of the Guild’s donation to the Hospitality Houses. “We hope the quilts will provide warmth during treatment and also make the patient aware that there are others who care about them at this difficult time of their life.”
Hospitality House guests choose their quilt at the beginning of their stay and often use these cozy pieces of art throughout their treatment. Patients receiving chemotherapy are often cold and it is not uncommon for patients to take their quilts with them to treatment sessions, which not only warms their bodies, but brightens the rooms.
Earlier this summer, the Ritzy Thimble Quilters’ Guild held a show-and-tell session at the Oak Ridge Civic Center where the quilts were displayed and admired by fellow quilters. The room was filled with color from the 27 quilts on display, which were presented as this year’s donation to the Hospitality Houses. This year’s unifying theme was the color blue, which can be found in each quilt.
The quilts were accepted by Hospitality House Volunteers, Roni Boyd and Vilma DeClue, who shared their experiences of seeing the guests choose their quilts…how the guests know just which one they want…how some hug the quilts to them… the joy they bring during such a difficult time.
“Thank you to all of the quilters who have so generously donated these beautiful quilts for our cancer patients,” said Kim Maes, Hospitality House coordinator. “These quilts mean so much to our guests. They not only warm their bodies, but their hearts, as well, and that goes a long way in the healing process.”
To all the quilters who so generously share their gifts with the cancer patients at Methodist’s Hospitality Houses, we say thank you!
The Ritzy Thimble Quilters’ Guild happily accepts donations of fabric to be used for the quilts donated to the Houses. To donate fabric, contact project coordinator Celia Shanks at (865) 387-3523. For more information about opportunities to support Methodist’s Hospitality Houses, please call (865) 835-4358 or visit the Hospitality Houses.