May 12, 2017
Breast cancer survivor finds comfort in quilting community
BY Cynthia DeMarco
Michelle Hines has never had ovarian cancer. But that didn’t stop the Maryland transplant from making a quilt that directly supports MD Anderson’s ovarian cancer research.
The quilt she made especially for the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project will go up for auction later this year. Its colorful design was inspired by the logo created for MD Anderson’s 75th anniversary last fall. Proceeds from the sale of Michelle’s quilt and dozens of others will benefit the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at MD Anderson.
“I first saw the pattern on the wall of the Mays Clinic in July 2016,” Michelle says. “I never would have thought to put those colors together, but I just thought it was so cool. The minute I walked into the hospital, I knew I had to make that design into a quilt.”
Heart: what makes MD Anderson special
Through Instagram, Michelle found and reached out to Gini Reed, the MD Anderson graphic designer who created the logo. She was delighted when the designer agreed to share the layout.
“Gini’s not a quilter, and I know it’s part of her job to understand color and shading and places to rest your eyes, but she still did an incredible job designing it,” Michelle says.
It took Michelle about a month to finish the quilt, and she’s excited about it being in the auction this fall.
“My quilt matches the 75th anniversary logo almost perfectly,” Michelle says. “I just added some color around a section that kind of looks like a heart to make it stand out more, because heart is such a big part of what makes MD Anderson special.”
Quilting through breast cancer treatment
Quilting also played a big part in Michelle’s experience when she was a breast cancer patient here. After her diagnosis in June 2015, Michelle underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and 17 rounds of targeted therapy.
“Even with the strongest anti-nausea medicine, some days I could barely move without getting sick,” she says. “But there is a very strong quilting community on Instagram, and we would do swaps. We’d pick a theme, be assigned a partner and make a mini-quilt for that person by a certain day.”
Unlike full-size quilting projects, the mini-quilts weren’t overwhelming. They also forced Michelle to get up and move around when she was feeling sick or tired.
“Quilting is what I focused on instead of cancer,” she says. “It helped me get going.”
Celebrating cancer-free status by giving back
Since November 2015, the veteran quilter has been cancer-free — a feat Michelle attributes to MD Anderson. Making a quilt seemed like the perfect way to give back to the place that has given her so much.
“MD Anderson saved my life, not just with breast cancer, but with ovarian remnant syndrome, too,” Michelle says. “It’s not cancer-related, but I developed that condition after a hysterectomy in 2000, and had multiple complications over the years. MD Anderson doctors finally fixed the last of them, and after that, I had no abdominal pain for the first time in 14 years.”
The Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project auction is scheduled for Oct. 25–Nov. 8, 2017.
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TopicsOvarian Cancer Breast Cancer
Heart is such a big part of what makes MD Anderson special.