Quilts Unite for Caleb’s Courage Initiative Helping Children in Cape Breton with Critical Illnesses
SYDNEY, NS — Quilters from every province came together to help children with life-threatening illnesses to relax comfortably during their stay at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
The Be A Superhero quilt was an initiative of Carolyn Guy, owner of Whitney Oaks Designs, for Caleb’s Courage.
Guy is a friend of Nicole Forgeron-MacArthur, who is a driving force behind Caleb’s Courage – an inheritance fund in memory of her three-year-old son Caleb.
Caleb’s Courage helps children with serious illnesses feel more comfortable as they fight serious illnesses like cancer. This includes financial support for out-of-town medical appointments or home medical equipment.
It also includes quality of life aids like Caleb’s Courage Superhero suite at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital with colorful walls, video games and other entertainment.
During the first year of the COVID-19 lockdown, Guy was browsing social media when she found quilt designs by Jennifer Long, owner of Bee Sew Inspired Dolls and Quilts, that inspired her.
Pigtails make the person lying underneath look like they have the body of a mermaid, elf or ballerina. Guy thought of superhero quilts for Caleb’s Courage and approached Forgeron-MacArthur with the idea
“I love the concept,” Smith-MacArthur said. “I loved the idea of being able to provide some comfort to the children when they are in the hospital.”
“The idea is that it kind of inspires them to recharge for the next day and fight their big battles,” Guy explained. “It’s nice.”
Quilters get together
Guy approached Long about the project and meetings took place via Zoom video calls.
Telling the story of Caleb through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as the growth of the nonprofit in his name, Long designed three superhero quilts: one in the colors of Batman, one in the Supergirl colors and one in Caleb’s Courage colors.
Guy recruited 12 quilters to volunteer time making the quilt tops, which she then attached to the batting and backing with her long arm quilting machine.
“Almost all of them jumped in. There were a few, I would say, who paused and said, ‘I like this project but I’m not sure I’m capable of it,'” Guy said.
“These quilts are a little different from what we usually see in the quilting community. Of course, I knew the work of these quilters and I knew they were capable or I couldn’t have asked them. But they have ended up saying, ‘because it’s for Caleb’s Courage, I’m going to give it a try.'”
Seeing how the quilters were willing to try something different for Caleb stood out from Guy.
“I thought, ‘Isn’t it cool how he inspires people in our community, every day,'” one emotional guy said. “Here he is, who would have thought he would inspire local quilters just to step out of their comfort zone and stretch a little, and come up with this beautiful finished project that can really comfort someone in need.”
In addition to having quilts available in Caleb’s Courage Superhero Suite at the Regional Hospital, nurses are provided with quilts for critically ill pediatric patients who require them.
Once used, the child can take the superhero blanket home.
The first was given to Molly Wadden, the 12-year-old girl from Victoria Mines who raised more than $21,000 for Caleb’s Courage before she died of cancer in July.
People can donate the “Gift of Comfort” through the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s online catalog.
The Because You Care catalog allows people to donate for patient services like family entertainment, dental care and superhero blankets through the hospital’s foundation.
A $50 “gift of comfort” donation goes toward Be A Superhero quilts and can be made online or by calling the hospital foundation at 902-567-7752. Inquiries can also be made by emailing 902-567-7752.
Nicole Sullivan is a diversity and education reporter, who sometimes covers health, at the Cape Breton Post.