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Desert Quilters donate wares to cancer patients

February 19, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

The Desert Quilters Guild once again is doing something nice for others.

This time the nimble-fingered members of the guild are donating quilts to the Imperial Valley Cancer Center in El Centro. Linda Britschgi of Holtville is in charge of the project.

"When people have (chemotherapy treatment) some of them have to sit there as long as three or four hours," Britschgi said. "It gets cold with the air conditioning. The quilt is just a cover-up to keep them from being uncomfortable. They are already uncomfortable from having cancer."

That uncomfortable feeling is something quite familiar to Britschgi, a cancer patient. She just finished seven weeks of radiation treatment after six months of chemotherapy.

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"Every cancer center could use a personal touch," Britschgi said. "When life has dealt you a raw deal it is very comfortable to snuggle up with a quilt and chocolate," she added.

Last year the guild made 22 quilts to give to Imperial Valley youngsters suffering from cancer. Regina Felty of Imperial was in charge of that program.

"I delivered all of them," Felty said. "The kids really loved them. The guild tried to make the quilts like kids' quilts. They all had their names on them. The parents were very touched. We let them know we were surrounding the children with our love by putting a quilt around them.

"I think everyone who got a quilt shed some tears, and those who made them as well."

Felty's son, Austin, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 2 and a half. Now 6, Austin recently completed his treatments and is doing well.

"He was so thrilled to know someone made a quilt for him," she said. "He doesn't share it with anyone."

Last year a local youngster died before the guild could get the quilt to her, Felty said. The guild went ahead and gave the quilt to the child's mother.

The quilters all work on quilts in their homes, and many of them meet on Fridays at the Vacuum Shop in El Centro to quilt and visit. The guild is having a quilt show March 17 and 18 at the Lions Center in Brawley. The group will also have a quilt display at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta, which runs March 2-11.

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