This little quilt started off very simple but took a turn for the inspiring.
Let me explain…
When I first started getting together a booth to do craft fairs, I needed some demo quilts to help people see the options for t-shirt quilt blocks and styles. I went to the local thrift store and found several shirts from a couple of the local high schools. I was one block short for one of them when I found a shirt for the Amanda Riley Foundation. It was the same colors as the school, but I wasn’t sure if it was connected. I figured the shirt was cheap enough to take a gamble and I’d look it up when I got home.
Turns out it was connected to the school in a big way. Amanda had been a student there, very involved with the school, when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. She fought long and hard, but she passed away in 2010. Her parents set up this foundation to help support children and their families as they battle cancer.
To say I’m in awe of this couple is putting it lightly. They lost their child and resisted, what I imagine, is the urge to retreat inward. They saw their own experience and used it as motivation to reach out and support others in similar situations. To fall in love with them and their cause as well, check out their explanation of why they do what they do.
Back to the quilt….
So as I was putting this quilt together, I noticed one of the other shirts I’d grabbed was from the same year Amanda Riley was a student. It was an impulse that made me stop and scan the names to see, but, sure enough, her name was there as one of the school’s peer leaders. I couldn’t believe it!
To help raise funds for the foundation, her school has a Riley Run and Carnival FUN Day. I got a vendor booth at their show a couple of years ago. While there, I made sure to show her mother, Mrs. Barbara Riley, the demo quilt with the coincidental Amanda link. Then she pointed out something that gave me goosebumps. She mentioned I’d gotten her basketball number as well. You see, at the thrift store I’d found a #2 reversible basketball jersey and used both sides in the quilt. So the corners both have the number 2 in them. Turns out Amanda’s number was 22. I had no idea, guys, but her mother saw it immediately.
As I’ve done more shows with more ready made quilts on hand, I started only putting up one demo quilt. I knew what I had to do when I realized I could retire one of the demo quilts forever. I messaged the foundation through their Facebook page and got in contact with mom. I’m happy to say that I was able to finally gift her the quilt earlier this week. I hope it brings her comfort as she and her family continue their ministry to other families as they navigate childhood cancer.
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