Quilts Brighten Exam Rooms

Naperville; Illinois; United States


“Giving Comfort to Children”
Photo by Sandra Hess, courtesy The Riverwalk Quilt Guild.

Members of the Riverwalk Quilters Guild of Naperville, Illinois, generously make quilts, pillowcases and other handmade items to distribute to local charities and people in need, including to the Edward Hospital Care Center which exists to help children, teens and special needs adults who are known or suspected to be victims of sexual abuse. On one occasion Sandra Hess and another guild member visited the hospital’s Pediatric Sexual Abuse Center and said, The specialist told us that because of the extreme fear the children have of this, the room is equipped with anything that might be needed. There is no waiting to get something for the exam. This is a room with a small chrome bed and all the equipment necessary for gynecological exams. In other words, thinking of the past abuse and the present use of the room, our blood ran cold. As we fought tears, our guide asked us to step outside the room while she transformed it with a bright quilt, pillowcase, and a teddy bear with a necklace. This picture tells the story of how a terrified child, grasping the nurse as they are carried in, see the new room. It was explained to us that the child is told they get to have everything and quite often their little shoulders start to relax. Every month when we take our stack of beautiful child size quilts to this department, our minds are given over to the horrors these children have lived through and we are inspired to continue taking as many quilts as possible. We do not furnish the teddy bears. Another generous person does this.

Written by Hess, Sandra;MacDowell, Marsha;Luz, Clare;Donaldson, Beth (2017)

MacDowell, Marsha; Luz, Clare; Donaldson, Beth. Quilts and Health. University of Indiana Press, 2017. Page 162.

Quilts and Health

  • Quilts and Health

    Documentation Project

    Michigan State University

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