Local quilting group donates handmade quilts to dialysis patients in Presque Isle
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Patients at the County Dialysis Center in Presque Isle soon will receive special handmade Christmas gifts that will keep them warm throughout the long, cold winter months in Aroostook County.
For the past five years, the Crown of Maine Quilters, a 40-member group, has put their skill sets together to sew quilts for every new patient at the dialysis center, located on North Street and owned and operated by Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital. This year, the members created 21 quilts and will present them to the patients during the dialysis center’s annual holiday party.
Lona Cyr, a member of Crown of Maine quilters and a licensed practical nurse at Northern Light’s Family Practice and Internal Medicine, stopped by the County Dialysis Center on Monday, Dec. 10, to deliver the finished quilts to the staff. She said that the quilters usually begin thinking of ideas for Christmas quilts in February and that it takes each of them around three days to complete a quilt while balancing their day jobs and other personal commitments.
The Crown of Maine Quilters also donate quilts to the Presque Isle fire and police departments and the Hope of Justice Project to give to people in emergency situations.
“The smallest act of kindness can mean so much to someone,” Cyr said. “I think this experience is a reminder that we need to live in a kinder world.”
Many of the quilts featured special designs such as a NASCAR logo, a John Deere-themed pattern, and two red-white-and-blue designs that will be given to patients who are veterans or their spouses.
Aron Chalou, a registered nurse at the County Dialysis Center, said that for many patients, feeling cold is an unfortunate side effect of dialysis treatment, which can be especially hard during the winter months. Having a handmade quilt not only keeps patients warm but also lifts their spirits at a time when they most need it.
“We had a patient one year who was blind but she kept rubbing her fingers along the stitches of her quilt. She said, ‘Never in my life have I ever had a Christmas like this,’” Chalou said. “She passed away not long after that.”