University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Quilters Share Stories Behind Their Creation

By Nancy Chan, UCSF Today | November 21, 2006

One by one, the patients who created Art for Recovery's latest quilt scanned the panels looking for the quilt square they had made.

It was both an emotional and stirring moment, as it was the first time many of them had seen the quilt in its finished form.

Eyes gazed from square to square, an inspired quilt sewn together with subtle earth-tone borders intermixed with brightly colored strips of material. Each was a 12" by 12" fabric square made from deep feelings of loss, healing and illness.

The occasion on Nov. 15 was a reception to bring together the quilt makers -- patients and survivors of cancer -- with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost A. Eugene Washington, on whose wall, just above his desk, the quilt now graces. "When I first saw the quilt, I was speechless, it is immensely touching," said Washington. "It conveys a strong sense of caring and is a poignant reminder of why we're here. At UCSF, we all work to ultimately promote health and prevent disease, and the quilt reminds us that our efforts are all about people -- the individuals and their stories."

The 85" x 100" horizontal quilt was created by adults coping with life-threatening illnesses who participate in the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center's Art for Recovery program. Art for Recovery has provided workshops all over the Bay Area inviting women with breast cancer to have a voice.

Currently, more than 60 breast cancer quilts have been made; with each square honoring someone coping with breast cancer or in honor of a loved one. The Breast Cancer Quilts Project and other patient artwork are exhibited throughout the Cancer Center, in hospitals, civic and corporate offices and at selected events throughout the country.

(Note that in November 2007 the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center was renamed the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.)

Read more at Nancy Chan, UCSF Today