'People out there care': Island group sews bags for chemotherapy patients

The Red Clay Quilt Guild is sewing handmade bags to be filled with products to make the lives of Islanders undergoing chemotherapy easier.

'Everybody can relate to cancer and every family is touched by it'

Lynn Townshend says the Red Clay Quilt Guild will continue to make the bags for as long as there is the interest and desire among the members. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Some Islanders who love to sew are stitching up bags for those undergoing chemotherapy.

Members of the Red Clay Quilt Guild have been sewing bags since the spring.

Once the bags are completed, they are given to the Central Christian Church in Charlottetown and filled with products to make the lives of chemotherapy patients more comfortable.

When Lynn Townshend heard about the church's project, she brought it to members of the guild to see if anyone would be interested in creating the bags.

The members immediately jumped on the idea, she said.

"We felt that a homemade bag is … something that shows people that are undergoing cancer treatment that other people out there care and want to do a little something to make their journey easier.

"[It's] just a little personal something we can do because there's no one that hasn't been touched by cancer."

The bags are filled with items such as socks, tea, lip balm and tissues. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

The guild has delivered more than 70 bags to the church, said Townshend. The fabric used has been donated by guild members.

While members of the guild have gotten together in the past to create the bags as a group, they have started to create kits for the bags, with the fabric pre-cut. That allows group members and others on the Island to complete a bag on their own.

Unfortunately, the need for these bags is not going away.— Lynn Townshend 

"We'll probably get together in the new year again to have a day here to make kits and bags because, unfortunately, the need for these bags is not going away," Townshend said.

Gwen Beck is on the outreach committee from the Central Christian Church. The committee fills the bags with products for patients and then delivers them to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Prince County Hospital.

The Red Clay Quilt Guild has sewn about 70 of the bags since last spring. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Included in the bags are items such as socks, tea, lip balm and tissues.

She said the response to the campaign has been overwhelming.

"Everybody can relate to cancer and every family is touched by it, and our family has been. My husband, Jock, is a cancer survivor," she said. "It's very widespread and prevalent."

'Thinking about them'

Beck hopes the bags show the patients "that people are thinking about them and that the things in the bag are to make them more comfortable, and give them more comfort while they're having their treatments," she said.  

Beck said about 30 bags a month are needed for all the patients. 

While the guild has other community projects, members plan to continue to sew bags for the foreseeable future. 

"As long as there's an interest and a desire amongst the members we'll keep making bags," Townshend said. 

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