Saturday, May 26, 2007

A reminder of why I make Project Linus Quilts

A few days ago I noticed my boss wearing one of the silicone bracelets that were made popular by Lance Armstrong and the "Live Strong" campaign. I was familiar with the bracelets because 2-1/2 years ago we used them for a fundraiser when my friend Elizabeth's daughter Kaycey was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Cancer. Unbelievably enough, this "little" fundraiser idea brought in donations of $3500. Never did I think a little silicone bracelet could do so much! Kaycey picked a royal blue color and they had, "4 Kaycey Jane" imprinted on them. I guess this is why I questioned my boss's bracelet…his was the same color. Only his was described as "Superman Blue."

Kaycey had a tumor on her kidney that exploded. They had to remove the kidney and this is when they diagnosed her with Neuroblastoma. She underwent chemo, radiation and a stem cell transplant. I think that this September marks 2 years in remission. Around the time she left the hospital from her stem cell transplant, Elizabeth met a family whose son was just diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Cancer so they formed a bond and have kept in touch all this time.

Around the time Jack was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma cancer his father was also diagnosed with cancer. They went through treatments at the same time and they were dubbed the "Supermen" by family and friends. I didn't know about Jack until I noticed my boss wearing a blue bracelet and asked about it. Turns out, it really is a small world because he and his wife are friends with Jack's family. They're now using the bracelets as a fundraiser. I didn't know until today that this was the family that Elizabeth has kept in contact with.
Kaycey has a "CarePage." Basically it's a blog to keep your family and friends up to date on your care and progress. Today's message from Elizabeth was this:

Please pray for Jack. Five year old Jack is one of the kids I met who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma shortly after Kaycey finished her transplant stay. While all his scans and tests have been great & no evidence of disease, they have recently learned Jack's cancer has returned. This disease is so awful; one day everything is fine, and seemingly out of nowhere it can return.
I am on the brink of tears; knowing this mom and reading her updates; having talked, and laughed, and shared what we called a "normal" life after going through what we did, and to learn his cancer is back. It's so unfair. They are in New York at MSK and he began chemotherapy & radiation therapy almost immediately. Please keep Jack's whole family and especially his twin sister in your prayers, too. She is the biggest sweetheart and wants nothing more than to have her superhero brother back at her side all the time. Jack's mom recently finished one of her updates with, "Cancer can change many things, but hope, faith, and love are not among them."

I read Elizabeth's message and a chill just ran down my spine. There were too many coincidences. Could this be the little boy that my boss had told me about only a few days earlier? I copied the message to him and unfortunately, it is the same little boy.
Upon hearing about Jack from my boss my first instinct was to ask if he had received a Project Linus quilt because if he hadn't I'd make sure he got one. I started looking for Superman fabric but then wasn't sure if I wanted to go through with making this quilt. The last thing I wanted was for him to think I was doing it just to suck up to the boss. So, I shelved the idea until I read Elizabeth's email today. I decided it was enough of a connection to go through the process of making a Project Linus quilt especially for him. Finding out that he has the same kind of cancer just makes me sick to my stomach because it's supposed to be one of the more rare types. This really reminded me of why I make quilts for Project Linus, why my husband and I have riden in the MACC Fund's Trek 100 Ride for the past two years and why we participate in the Wish Walk for the Make a Wish Foundation. Kaycey and her family received a "Wish" to go to Disney World as a family. A trip that was taken after Kaycey's Stem Cell Transplant was complete and it was safe enough for her to travel.

My mom and I ran around tonight picking up my fabrics. I got the red and blue at Joann's because they were on sale and the Superman fabric came from Wal-Mart. It's all a tad on the "crunchy" side so I'll definitely be washing this quilt before I give it. I managed to whip out the quilt top in about 2-1/2 hours. Tomorrow I'll baste it and start stippling it. I have some red, white and blue variegated thread that I had to own yet never used. The back will also be the Superman Fabric. I think the binding will be red. I bought enough of the Superman Fabric to make a pillow case to give the quilt in. Here's the top and the Superman Fabric:


Thursday, May 24, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover
What a wonderful thing to do Jen. I'm sure your boss won't see it as sucking up, and if any one does think that they should be ashamed of themselves.
I think this quilt will be different from the normal Linus quilts because it will be made with a bit more love as you 'know' the child involved.
My thoughts and prayers will be with him and his family

love and hugs gina xxx

Thursday, May 24, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by CountryQuilter
Wow, that really brings tears to your eyes. I can't imagine what they are going through. If your quilts can give just a touch of comfort to someone in need, then it's worth it all. It is great, what you do. I really never checked much into the Project Linus, stupid me always thought they had to be made with certain fabrics and I knew we wouldn't have those around here. Duh! I will have to look into that after all. Please keep us informed on how everything is going...

Thursday, May 24, 2007 - You're Incredible
Posted by Anonymous

I am so impressed and motivated by you...the Superman quilt is awesome. When you stipple the quilt you will be stippling your love for this little boy who you barely know into it. You are such a caring and giving person and I feel that you should know how incredible you are. You said Jack has a twin sister...would it be appropriate to make a quilt to send for her as well because I am sure this has hit her hard. If you would like me to make a quilt for his sister please let me know the size you made Jack's quilt.

Thanks again for putting such interesting and fun stuff on your blog. The quilt is wonderful.


Thursday, May 24, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps
You are such a Saint! He will just love that quilt! We will be keeping them in our prayers.

Friday, May 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Vesuviusmama
Jen, you are a saint. These types of entries just make me ache inside, both for concern for those involved but also dread and fear. As a mother of two small boys, these postings remind me of how little control I have over their lives. As you said, one day, everything can be normal and the next, tragedy can strike. You should be commended for all that you do.

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