Women with smiling faces walked the halls and greeted patients in the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Goodyear, Ariz., Aug. 6, as members of the Goodyear Ward Relief Society distributed colorful hand-made quilts to patients.
Only a few months after the center opened, members of the Goodyear Ward Relief Society knew they wanted to do something to bring hope to and serve the cancer patients during their stay at the center. As they were deciding what they wanted to do, they developed a friendship with Debbie Vance, a Relief Society sister from Kansas City, Mo., who was at the center receiving treatment for colon cancer. As their friendship developed, together they came up with a plan to make 30 quilts in 30 days.
"We talked with Debbie about when people are doing chemo they are oftentimes cold," said Connie Brownlow, Relief Society president. "Patients complain that they can never get warm. She had thought it would be neat to donate quilts and we thought it would be a great way to serve."
Since Sister Vance was going to be in town for treatments for 30 days, the Relief Society sisters decided that would be their time frame to create quilts for the center.
In order to accomplish their timely task, more than a dozen sisters gathered in homes and at the center to put together and quilt the blankets. All of the fabric used in the project was donated.
"The sisters were spending two hours a day, three days a week in order to make all of the quilts," said Jerry R. Gerovac, bishop of the Goodyear Ward. "They were working on this project in addition to all of the other things going on in life."
After countless stitches and many yards of fabric, the Relief Society sisters accomplished their goal and spent an evening delivering the quilts and visiting with patients. Each patient was able to pick his or her own quilt.
But more than just quilts were exchanged through the monthlong service project — friendships were formed with patients and staff members that continue today.
"I believe our sisters have made a very good impression on the people who run the center," Bishop Gerovac said.
Not only did the quilts bring hope to many of the patients; they also strengthened the testimonies of all of the sisters involved.
"The sisters have the peaceful and good feeling from the Holy Ghost that comes from serving their fellowman," Bishop Gerovac said. "They were proud they could be helpful in a small but meaningful way."
— Marianne Holman