Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #40 - ConKerr Cancer


The Pennsylvania National Quilt Festival is a wonderful quilt show.  It's a local show for me.  My quilt guild acts as white gloves in order to sell raffle tickets to our fundraising quilt.  I was planning on going to the show for a quick visit on Saturday with a very dear friend, Miss H.

Then an e-mail came to my inbox asking for volunteers to sew pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer on the same day.  This is an organization that was started locally about 5 years ago.  Cindy Kerr's son, Ryan, was battling bone cancer.  She made some fun pillowcases for him while he was in the hospital to brighten his day.  Then, other kids wanted the pillowcases too.  Cindy began making pillowcases for them.  The need became so great that she enlisted local organizations, like quilt guilds, to help fill the need.  I was the community outreach person for our guild at the time.  I was approached by a member of our guild that was a member of Cindy and Ryan's church.  (Thank you Doris.)  That first year, my quilt guild made over 350 pillowcases for Cindy to distribute and we had the privilege of having Ryan visit our guild to share his story with his inimitable charm (and red high top sneakers).
ConKerr Cancer, a case for smiles, shot to national fame when Cindy was nominated and became a semi-finalist for The Martha Stewart Show's contest, Dreamers Into Doers. In 5 years, 115 chapters have been formed around the U.S., Britain and South Africa.  Unfortunately Ryan was not able to see how he inspired his Mother and hundreds of sewers to bring a smile to the face of thousands of children with cancer.  Actually, in 5 years, over 560,000 pillowcases have been donated.
I just knew that I NEEDED to go and sew pillowcases, just as I KNEW, I did not need to buy any more fabric at the quilt show.  And of course, much to my delight, the GOODest person I know, said "what time do you want me to pick you up"?  (Oh I love her!)
A room full of pillowcase makers

Cindy Kerr taking a new volunteer under her wing

I loved this serger.  It is a speed demon that helped me to construct 30 pillowcases!

We filled 3 bins.  The goal was 500 pillowcases.
September is Childhood Cancer Month.  Cindy's goal is for ConKerr Cancer to make 44,000 pillowcases in one month.  And why 44,000?  I am sad to say that is how many children have cancer. It costs a lot of money to buy the fabric to make that many pillowcases.  If you are in the Philadelphia area or know someone who is, Friday night is a big Pajama Party fundraiser at
The Please Touch Museum.

Kids will have the run of the museum as well as dancing and crafts and celebrities. 
And you can make a pillowcase or two.
Or if you want to make pillowcases on your own or with a local group, there are chapters all over the US.  Click here to see if there is a chapter near you.  There are other ways to help. 
 Visit the ConKerr website.

So let's get back to my Wednesday's Wanderings. 
 I knew I had to share all of this info so my weekly block is full of mini pillowcases.

Here's a close-up of one of the cases:

and here's the wonderful logo I printed on fabric and attached to the block.  (Note those red sneakers.)

Quilters have the biggest heart of any group of people I know. 
I am proud to be a member of this group.
We do good things.


  1. What a wonderful thing you are doing.

  2. Wonderful post. I need to have a personal pillowcase sewfest someday!

  3. Thank you! A good reminder of what to do with fabric bought to make kids quilt and now is sitting folded as I play with surface design and art quilts! My guild made a lot of pillowcases for ConKerr a few years back and it's fun sewing.

    Twyla Tharp in a podcast said that she doesn't have much time to see other people's art, because she is a working artist and can't be going to to shows at night and still get up early and do the work of being an artist. Interesting - putting priority on the doing aspect.

    Congrats on choosing "doing" over "looking and shopping"!

  4. love this! I've made so many pillowcases I've lost count. And hanging out my laundry is a passion. Thanks for another uplifting story and a great little quilt! Carrie

  5. What a great thing to do with my excess of juvenile fabric! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I have been wanting to make some cases, need some for me too, lol.
    My husband has skin cancers since he is so fair, so he gets treatments and hopefully nothing will spread.
    Today he looks like a lobster, they did his face yesterday.


  7. What a generous thing to do! And your weekly block with the mini pillowcases is adorable.

  8. I love your mini pillowcase block! What a great way to remember your day of sewing for ConKerr Cancer!

  9. Thank you for the information about ConKerr Cancer! You and their website inspired me and our guild is going to make some next Tuesday and now I'm looking for a place to hold our own Pajama Pillowcase Party in Ithaca. :)

    Your little quilt is also fun. :) Thank you again!

  10. What a darling block with such an important message. Wow! 30 pillowcases - nice going Cheryl! That Miss H is pretty special and so are you!

  11. Great block Cheryl and a great cause as well! Good for you 30!!!


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