Young Patients Reap What Snowbirds Sew

Quilting group delivers winter’s work to Stollery

Story by Sharman Hnatiuk

Madison Berube has a big decision to make.

ns-quilting-groupAmong hundreds of colourful handmade quilts displayed at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, she has to decide which one will be hers.

More than 400 quilts have been donated to the hospital thanks to an Edmonton-area quilting group called Quilting Ladies of Heritage Valley Estates, who designed and sewed the works of art throughout the year.

The ‘snowbirds’ have now returned to Edmonton, and their quilts were displayed at the Stollery on May 5, giving pediatric inpatients and families the opportunity to handpick a quilt.

“It’s very nice to receive such a personal gift,” says Madison’s mother, Sandra.

“You don’t always get to bring all the things from home that you would like, and it’s nice to add comfort to the room.”

Madison spent the first three months of her life in the Stollery due to a narrowing of the aortic valve in her heart. Over the years, the Berubes have visited the Stollery many times, most recently with Madison requiring a ventricular assist device (VAD) to pump blood from her heart.

The ‘snowbirds’ made their first donation of 68 quilts to the Child Life Department at the Stollery in 2008. The brightly coloured quilts can cover medical tubes and wires, often making hospital beds feel homier for patients and families.

“It is such a humbling experience to watch patients choose their quilts,” says quilter Mary Roseneau.

“We are motivated to increase the number of quilts being given each year. Quilting is time consuming, but seeing the joy in the faces of patients and families today is worth it.”

The remaining quilts from the event will be distributed by Child Life specialists to Stollery patients and families throughout the year.

“It is pretty amazing that people can take time out of their own busy lives to give so much,” says Sandra.

“Thanks to their creativity and generosity, Madison can choose something that gives her room a little personality rather than the white linens of a typical hospital room.”

Source Alberta Health Services