Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quilts to Honor Kayla Rose

My friends, you might want to grab a tissue for this post.  I'm going to tug on your heartstrings just a bit....and then I'm going to ask you if you've got one might want to just grab the entire box of tissues.

Earlier this week, I was perched in my favorite chair, drinking my morning coffee and sharing peanut butter toast with my pooches when there was a segment on the Today Show about childhood cancer. I was sobbing as I watched the video that Hoda Kotb had orchestrated with music artists Sara Barielles and Cyndi Lauper, combining their songs "True Colors" and "Brave" to create Truly Brave . (click the song title to watch the video...tissues required) A tribute and encouragement to kids battling cancer and the stars of the video were none other than  kids who are currently fighting the disease.   It was so touching...I was a blubbery mess.   I shared the link to the video on my Facebook page and not long after, someone I've know nearly my entire life, commented on the video....someone who knew firsthand just how devastating this disease can be.   

Bobbi (Dombrowski) Thomas and I grew up in rural NW Pennsylvania and started first grade together. We didn't have Kindergarten then at our school.  We're not so old that it hadn't been invented yet, I just like to tell people that we were so smart, we went straight to first grade. 

Bobbi, was my first "Polish" friend.  And no...I don't mean she was a little girl who came to America  from Poland...she simply had the letters "ski" on the end of her name...and if my memory serves me correctly, she told some of the best Polish jokes in Elementary school.  (now this was way before being politically correct was invented...we didn't take life so seriously back then... and we all made fun of ourselves). We were classmates all through school and like most people, after high school we went our separate ways and lost touch.  Thanks to  social media, we have now reconnected through Facebook.  I do remember having a phone conversation with my Mom at some point several years ago, when she mentioned that Bobbi's young daughter, Kayla, had been battling cancer and the prognosis was not good.  I remember thinking to myself then "I just can't even imagine...".  I still can't....but after watching that video,  I finally reached out and contacted Bobbi about an idea that I've had for quite some time and just hadn't followed through...a way not only to  celebrate Kayla's life...but to do something in her memory that would make a difference to other kids facing cancer.  Quilts. Of course Quilts!  What if we collect quilts that could be given to other children facing honor Kayla.

I never met Kayla, but thanks to Facebook, I  have seen pictures of her occasionally and I get to feel her family's love for well as their sense of loss.  I asked Bobbi if she wouldn't mind sharing a bit of Kayla with you and here is what she wrote....

Dear Friends,

When Penny first approached me with the idea of gathering quilts as a way to honor the life of my daughter Kayla Rose I was instantly brought to tears. As anyone who has lost a child will tell you, there is a deep fear that your little one will be forgotten, and just the thought of paying tribute to Kayla's life on what would have been her 25th birthday is beyond special.

Most of you never had the opportunity to know Kayla, but through this letter, I am hopeful you will find a sense of the child she was, the young lady she had grown to be, and the woman she never had the chance to become.

God presented Kayla to me on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1990.  She came complete with a charismatic smile and deep Bambi eyes filled with the bright lights of life.
On Christmas Eve 2002, we would hear the gut-wrenching words, "Kayla has Cancer!" We had never heard of Rhabdomyosarcoma and we didn't know what stage IV meant.  But within hours we knew young Kayla would be facing a fight for her life.
At twelve years old, it was of course difficult for Kayla to adjust to all of the challenges an aggressive cancer treatment would present, yet she stayed strong and full of smiles every step of the way.  Never to be defeated by her diagnosis, Kayla blossomed into an amazing young lady whose courage and determination provided strength to those around her.

One of Kayla's most treasured possessions was a quilt her Grandmother made her and we never made a trip to Children's Hospital without it.  As Kayla would be getting settled into her room for yet another treatment, I would busily strip the boring white blankets off the bed and replace them with her colorful quilt.  I was obvious to anyone who entered the room that she was wrapped in something made with love which made her room brighter just by its presence.
Only eleven short months after that fateful Christmas Eve, on the night before Thanksgiving, November 26, 2003, it was time for Kayla to return home to Jesus, and while resting peacefully at home surrounded by those she loved most, she took her last breath.
Those of us who Kayla shared her life with will always remember the smile in her eyes and the joy she brought to everything she touched. It's my wish that this short letter will give you a glimpse of the person Kayla was and maybe even an idea of the angel she is now.
 So here's where you, my quilter friends, come in to play.  I'm asking you if you have a quilt that you'd be willing to send so that Kayla's family can celebrate her birthday, February 14th, by delivering quilts to other adolescent aged kids who are battling cancer.  I'm looking for a decent lap size, perhaps 60x72ish or colors and/or styles that might appeal to a teen.  I would also welcome quilt tops that I can finish.  I'd like to have all finished quilts to me by February 1, 2015  so that I can prepare them with a special label honoring Kayla.  If you've got a quit top you'd like to donate that would need to be here much quicker so that I have time to see that it's finished and ready for delivery.
A final message from Bobbi regarding this project...
As you consider making a donation of your time and talents I want to ensure you that while a quilt given to a young person fighting for their lives may seem like a small gesture, it will provide so much more than warmth, it will give comfort.  Comfort not only for the recipient but also a special sense of comfort to Kayla's family as we have the privilege of delivering your efforts in a true celebration of Kayla's life.
If you'd like to provide a quilt in honor of Kayla, to be delivered to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, on February 14, 2015...her 25th birthday....a day all about LOVE....please comment on this post with a return email address, or email me directly at  I'm also asking that if you send a quilt for Kayla's family to deliver...that you also add a card or note...perhaps some words of encouragement as well as your name and address.  x


  1. My email is wavegreengold@yahoo. com What is the deadline for a finished quilt and deadline for a quilt top? Please send me information, I have several friends who may be interested.

  2. Thank you, Pat! I'll be sending you an email today! We appreciate you so very much!

  3. Please let me know what the deadline is for quilt tops too. My email is

  4. My email is Please send me details, Penny, so I can participate in this great project! Thanks, Sandi in Chattanooga

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thank you, Sandi! I've sent you an email.