Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sewing Scarves for Cancer Patients

This is the story of two amazing women who I met on the last day of Fiber College and a random act of kindness that has touched my life...and will soon touch the lives of many women with cancer.

For years, while my sister Nancy dealt with the side effects of ovarian cancer treatment, I sewed her scarves. Lots of scarves. It became my therapy as I supported her.  I wrote about Nancy's scarves on my blog at My Sister's Scarves. I hope you'll take a minute to click on the link and read her story.

The short version is that I made so many scarves Nancy couldn't possibly wear them all so we began making them to donate to the Maine Medical Cancer Center in Scarborough, where Nancy went for chemo, and the Cancer Community Center in South Portland. After Nancy passed away in 2010, I was left with bins of cut out scarves to sew. It became more than I had time to keep up with so I brought a bin of the scarves-to-be to Fiber College with me last week, hoping that some of the quilters there might be able to use the fabric. The bin sat on the quilting table for four days, and, at the Farewell Get-together on the last day, a woman named Kendra introduced herself. Let's call her  "Amazingingly Kind Woman #1".

Nancy's scarves
Kendra explained that she and a group of her friends from the Searsport area would like to complete the pile of scarves left in the bin and donate them to the Augusta Cancer Center. In the time it took me to finish my bread pudding (yummy!), Kendra had surrounded herself with interested sewers and was showing them the scarves. She actually had one on! I felt myself tearing up and had to walk outside for a minute. Thanks to Kendra, "My Sister's Scarves" would go on . . . and help other women like Nancy.

And it doesn't end there...
Nancy 2006
Another woman, Beverly from Medford, Maine, introduced herself and asked if she might have a cut-out scarf to use as a pattern so that she could make some to donate to women with cancer in the Dover-Foxcroft area. (Again with the tears and the dash outside to compose myself). To me, Beverly will always be "Amazingly Kind Woman #2".

Now I'm wondering if this might go viral . . . more and more of us sewing these simple reversible scarves for cancer patients.

Nancy's New England Patriots Scarf, Side #1
and Side #2   Go Pats!
A few days after I returned from Fiber College, Kendra forwarded this to me . . . her invitation to her friends to join her to sew scarves. (And check out the reference to moose hunting...this is Maine after all!)

Good Evening Ladies~~~
I am back and ready to do something!!! Bruce will be away moose hunting so I think it is time for a get together.
So on Wednesday September 24th  at 2:00 you are invited to our house.  We will be making kerchiefs for chemo patients.  I was given a box ~already cut out ~ so we need to sew them~turn them~hand stitch the opening ~press them~ and then top stitch them.  We need lots of hands~~it doesn't require any sewing skills.
I will have wine and appetizers.
Hope to see you all~~it will be a good time!!!

So this post is a great big THANK YOU to Kendra and Beverly, two very kind women who I was so fortunate to meet.

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."
~Princess Diana
 This post is linked to:
Sew Darn Crafty at Sew Many Ways
In loving memory of my sister, Nancy Smith Tufts
1952 - 2010

Relay for Life 2010

Nancy at Searsport Shores, Site #22, Aug. 2007


  1. What a sweet story.

    With today's social media, it might just go viral!

  2. This is wonderful! I know when we were moving my Mom we donated a lot of fabric to a quilt group that made quilts for kids and also scarves for cancer patients. It made Mom feel so good to donate to them. Your Sister and the Love you have for her will never end!

  3. Beautiful. Nancy's scarves are the reason for finding your blog in the first place and opening up a whole new world to the way-up-northeast portion of the US.

  4. This is all so beautiful. Amazing how wonderful acts of generosity and love find their way into people's hearts and carry themselves forward. It would make Nancy smile I think. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you are well. I'm always missing Nancy & just reading this makes me smile... xo Laura Burrill

  5. Inspiring story--I am interested in the scarves as a project for our quilt group. Is there a pattern? (I clicked on the link above to go to "My Sister's Scarves", but it said I did not have access.)

  6. Would love the pattern! Email address to chat? This Down Easter would love to help spread this wonderful legacy to the edge of Maine!

    1. and this downeaster would love to help as well.

  7. Thanks so much to everyone who has commented or contacted me about making "Nancy's scarves" to donate to other women with cancer. You are all amazing! I will be posting the scarf pattern and directions on my blog later today . . .Thursday, Sept. 18th .Feel free to share!

  8. Miss Nancy so much. She was a beautiful model!! Went to Quebec recently and had to laugh at Michael Jackson overlook!


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