We can’t cure cancer ourselves but we can meet them where they are
Sunday December 18th 2022, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Come to the ice skating rink on Friday, they said. A ward party. The place is rented out to us for two hours. Pizza and hot cocoa will be served and eight quilts will be tied for the incoming family.

Ice skates and nighttime outdoor quilt tying? Yeah, I did a double take, too.

Turns out there’s a family coming the week between Christmas and New Year’s from I have no idea where whose 13 year old son is being given a last-chance try at Stanford at stopping his brain cancer after five years of treatments. He is one of the younger children in a family of eight.

This was a good time to find someone who would be away visiting loved ones; a home was volunteered for them so they could all stay together at this time.

They would be long-distance driving in, one assumes with not a lot of room with that many people and space for surely only their most essential luggage.

It’s been below freezing at night this past week.

And so it was quickly resolved that we would make every one of them a quilt. Given how short a notice the whole thing was, those turned out to be two layers of soft fleece with snips made all around the edges and then those pairs of snips tied together, upper to lower: simple, warm, and easy for a bunch of people to work on together and finish quickly, no sewing, not even setting up a frame, just laid out on the picnic tables together–and go!

I admit my first thought was, man, it’s cold out here.

Of course there were no outdoor heaters: they have to keep the ice cold. The check-in booth is inside but there’s no roof to the rink itself.

I hadn’t been in that facility since before my ’00 car accident. Skating on ice with no sense of balance just doesn’t sound like a great idea, y’know?

But what intrigued me (as I played spectator) was the accommodations: now, they had polar bear chairs, designed for little ones to ride on while being scooted on the ice pushed from behind, with those chairs being strong enough that the teenagers got in on it too and the ice patrol was totally cool with it while they occasionally swooped in to scoop up a toddler, mindful of every person on that rink. What a great idea!

There was a kid in a wheelchair, and the older kids playing with the bear chairs completely normalized his sitting down as they twirled around him sliding on the ice, legs akimbo. He could look down to them, rather than his peers always looking down to him. So cool.

I have Reynaud’s and my hands get white and stiff in the cold. But I wasn’t skating, so after I ate my pizza and cleaned up the hot cocoa I spilled down my skirt (brrr) and off the concrete so others wouldn’t slip on it I got called over to hey, come help us with this!

I was amazed at how fast others were going at it and my cold fingers fumbled as I thought, I am not good at this.

But you know what? Once I actually got going, things did limber up and when someone new joined us, I was now the one at that quilt going at a good clip, and man it felt good to be doing this for that family.

I said to the person who organized it, They’re surely not going to have the room in the car to take all these home afterwards. We should offer to mail them home for them when they go.

That’s a great idea! You’re right!

So. Now, we wait. They are coming.

And they and their son and brother are loved already, whoever they are.

4 Comments so far
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How lovely!

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 12.19.22 @ 7:33 am

What a nice thing to do for them! I’m sure they will feel truly, warmly welcomed.

Comment by ccr in MA 12.19.22 @ 8:37 am

I’ve done those “no-sew” blankets also, and agree: they are warm and quick and very useful. Kudos to whose who had the idea and all those who helped!

Comment by Margo Lynn 12.19.22 @ 8:42 am

Wonderful! That is so cool that so many could help make them.

Comment by DebbieR 12.19.22 @ 2:38 pm

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