Column #68

“Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research

“Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research
“Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is an uncommon but aggressive form of cancer that grows rapidly and spreads to other parts of the body. It tends to affect women at younger ages than other types of breast cancer. And by the time it is diagnosed, it has all-too-frequently progressed to an advanced stage. In 2000, Karen Cottrell of Horseshoe Bay, Texas, learned that she had IBC. Neither she nor any of her family or friends had ever heard of it before.
Because she was diagnosed early and treated appropriately, Karen has beat the odds of 50% survival, and she is in her twelfth year of living with cancer, although in the last few years it has metastasized into her lungs, bones, and brain. Karen continues to fight the disease with courage, grace, and tenacity, and she is a daily inspiration to all who know her.
With so little being known about IBC and funding for research for the rare cancer in short supply, Karen’s husband, David, and children, Jennifer Laymance, Kim Harris, and Michael Cottrell, founded a group in 2009 known as TeamKaren to make others more aware of the disease and to raise money for research.
For the past three years, TeamKaren has held all manner of fundraisers, from 5K and 10K runs to spaghetti suppers, and in 2011, they added a quilt raffle. To date, the efforts have raised over $100,000, every penny of which has gone to the Morgan Welch IBC Cancer Research Program at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. (Morgan Welch, a 24-year-old woman, was the youngest person to ever die of IBC.)
A quilting friend of Karen’s daughter, Kim, came up with the idea of a raffle quilt for TeamKaren. Valerie Boessling, who operates Sew Fun, a monogramming and custom embroidery business in Pearland, a Houston suburb on the Texas Gulf Coast, has been making quilts for 15 years.
“I have a nice collection of quilts just for me, and my husband once said, ‘Don't we have enough quilts?’“ she laughs. “That got me thinking that we only have two beds in our house, two couches, and three people. So, yes, I guess we have enough quilts, but I didn't want to stop making them. That’s when I decided to make at least one quilt a year to donate to a charity.” 
“Some years ago at a quilt retreat, I fell in love with one of the quilts on the bed there,” Valerie continues. “Several of us decided to do a pink, black, and white block trade to look like the pink quilt at the retreat center. The blocks had been ‘aging’ in my sewing room for a while and when Kim Harris reminded me about the TeamKaren fundraiser, I knew just what to use them for. That’s how the Think Pink quilt came about.
“The blocks were made by myself, Debbie Brown, Winnie Fleming, Beverly French, Marcia Brenner, and Lisa Fontenot, all of us members of The Bay Area Quilt Guild in Houston. I put the blocks together, added borders, and did the binding. The quilt was quilted by Marcia Brenner of Stars and Strips Quilting in Pearland using a ‘ribbon’ all-over design. My mother-in-law, Kay Boessling, died in 2008 of breast cancer, so I like to help out with breast cancer fundraisers.”
And help out she did. Valerie’s Think Pink quilt added a significant amount to the total donated to the IBC Cancer Research Program in 2011—just one more way that quilters and their quilts make the world a better place.


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Archived blogs:

Column 149: Rosie’s Redwork
Column 148: The Quilt of Belonging
Column 147: Kanthas—The Quilts of Bangladesh
Column 146: Patterns
Column 145: Suzy on Carolyn Mazloomi's Groundbreaking Quilt Exhibit
Column 144: Texas Community Marks Juneteenth Sesquicentennial with History Quilts
Column 143: Maya Embroidered Patchwork
Column 142: Huipil Patchwork Quilts
Column 141: Tom Korn’s Military Medal Quilts
Column 140: The Return of Double Knits!
Column 139: Passage Quilts
Column 138: Home of the Brave Quilts
Column 137: The Story of Fabric Yo-Yos
Column 136: Christmas in July
Column 135: Trifles
Column 134: Deaf Initiatives—Communicating Through Quilts
Column 133: My Betty Boop Quilt
Column 132: Maura Grace Ambrose
Column 131: All You Need Is Love
Column 130: Chicken Linens
Column 129: The Quilted Chuppah
Column 128: Patchwork Around the World: Yoruba Dance Costumes
Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery

See other archived columns here

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