The bandage for a sufferer of leprosy arrived at LDS Humanitarian Center in an ordinary plastic bag. It looked like the many hundreds of others: made by hand from white, cotton thread, three inches wide by four feet long.
Like other similar bandages, this one was sturdy, designed so it would not stick to sores like flat bandages can, and could be sterilized for reuse. These bandages, while relatively easy to make, can take more than 40 hours to complete.
But there was something special about this bandage. At the top, the stitches were tight and orderly. About half way down, the stitches became increasingly uneven and loose. After another few inches, the stitches once again became even.
Attached to the bandage was a small note written by hand that said:
"Just a note about this bandage. I know it's not the most perfect bandage you've ever seen, but it was made by my younger sister (age 46) who died of breast cancer in February. She worked on this right up till the end. . . . She was determined to finish it, but died before it was finished. I finished it for her. Even though it looks a little funny, no bandage was ever done with more love, effort, or perseverance."
The letter was not signed. There was no indication of who this woman was or where she was from.
All that can be surmised is that during her time of greatest affliction, this woman performed a simple act of kindness; something that would bring relief to a stranger. One stitch at a time hour after hour in her final and most troubling hours, her thoughts and hands were devoted to easing the pain of another.
In the great events of world history, the making of a bandage for a leprosy patient may not merit a mention. But perhaps beyond the veil, angels rejoice in a simple act of charity that serves as a symbol of all that is best within us.
Neil K. Newell, Welfare Services