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Quilt for a Cure

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Quilt for a Cure

February 27, 2002

The loneliest, most vulnerable feeling in the world may very well come when your doctor sits you down and says, “You have cancer.” Those words can have a devastating effect.

But those words have also had a galvanizing effect on people, both those who have dealt with cancer personally and those who want to help their loved ones, friends, and neighbors that may be coping with America’s number one killer. In the Clark Fork Valley, among those people are the ones who have formed the Cancer Network of Sanders County.

It used to be known as Breast Cancer Health Resources of Sanders County, but the group is interested in serving a broader range of needs among area residents. “We’re seeing a lot of need in this county,” said Joyce Dougan of Plains, “and it’s more than just breast cancer.”

Dougan is a member of the Cancer Network and is just one of nearly a dozen people from every community in the county who make up this organization dedicated to helping people diagnosed with cancer. “We’ve expanded to become a more comprehensive group,” she added. She noted that 21 county residents have been served by the Cancer Network since August 2001.

Their goal, Dougan explained, is to provide funds to people diagnosed with cancer to help offset ordinary costs like travel, meals and accommodations during treatment. Often, she noted, the less obvious, more everyday-type of expenses while receiving care can be overlooked, yet be just as demanding as the cost of medical care, if funds are not readily available. The Cancer Network wants to help people be able to take care of these on-the-side costs.

“How much we can help is only limited by how much money is available,” said Dan Whittenburg, a Cancer Network volunteer and Vice President of First State Bank of Thompson Falls and Plains. The employees of First State Bank are so committed to helping cancer patients, he said, that the bank has pledged $750 a year for the next four years to the Network.

This generosity is complemented by another community-driven effort to help raise funds. The Plains Piecers Quilt Guild has recently created another beautiful quilt as part of the nationwide “Quilt for a Cure” project that raises funds for cancer research. They sewed the quilt with one aim in mind: to donate it to the Cancer Network for a fundraising raffle that will be announced this spring.

Gaynelle Stamm remarked that several women in the Guild have battled cancer and so are thrilled to be a part of an effort that offers assistance to others in need. The Guild purchased the fabric, which was developed specifically for the “Quilt for a Cure” project. “A portion of the sales of the fabric all over the country goes to breast cancer research,” she said.

The pattern for the quilt came from McCall’s Quilting Magazine, and once again, a portion of the sales of that issue of the magazine was donated to cancer research.

Between ten and 15 ladies worked on the quilt from June through November last year, spending a day each week for three to fours each day quilting. But the project began even earlier than that when Stamm ordered the fabric and began cutting squares last February. The project culminated recently when the Plains Piecers Quilt Guild donated the quilt to the Cancer Network during an informal ceremony at First State Bank in Plains. The quilt will soon be on display at various times in either bank location in Plains and Thompson Falls.

Dan Whittenburg commented about the women of the Guild, “Those are good ladies with big hearts helping their community.”

To find out more about the Cancer Network of Sanders County and how you could help them help other people diagnosed with cancer, contact Joyce Dougan at 826-4278 or pln4278(at) blackfoot.net or Joyce Longpre at 827-3058. You can also contact Gayle LaPointe, the treasurer for the network, by email at vgl(at)plainsmt.net. For information about the Plains Piecers Quilt Guild contact Gaynelle Stamm at 826-1843 or by email at jgstamm(at) blackfoot.net. 


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Dennis Nicholls Dennis Nicholls was the founder, publisher, janitor and paperboy of the River Journal from 1993 to 2001. He passed away in 2009.

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