Without the help of a few palliative care nurses, this year's Airing of the Quilts event in April may have had to have been cancelled.
Caring Hearts Community Quilters co-founder Margaret Collier said the annual fundraiser to help make quilts for palliative care patients was becoming too much work, as the members got older.
"Last year was going to be our last," Mrs Collier, 80, said. "Hanging up 200 and something quilts ... and then taking them down, it's just too much. But we're lucky we've got the palliative care nurses this year. Last year was going to be our last - but we thought 21 years - maybe we can go longer."
Julianne Brisbane, 52, is a palliative care nurse and quilter and signed up after last year's Airing of the Quilts. She could see the positive difference to patients and wanted to get behind the charity so that it could continue.
"As I work I'm not able to attend the sewing catch ups on Thursdays, but sew at home and drop off quilt tops. I enjoy making a variety of different patterns ... there are only so many quilts you can use yourself," Ms Brisbane said.
"I have witnessed the joy that quilts give some of our patients and their families, so I started sewing quilt tops. Some of my friends have also donated quilt tops. Our patients are very fortunate to receive quilts lovingly made by the very generous ladies from Caring Hearts Quilters."
As well as quilting and sewing, some nurses are offering practical support with the group's fundraiser.
On February 22, Belong Blue Mountains Palliative Support Service, received 35 beautiful hand-made patchwork quilts made by the Caring Hearts Community Quilters. Before year's end they are expected to add another 50 quilts to that number.
Melissa Williams, volunteer co-ordinator for the Belong service, said the charity relies on income raised from the exhibition, to purchase the wadding (which is expensive) that goes into quilt making. Without the exhibition, the group eventually would not be able to purchase equipment.
"Each quilt is truly unique ... it's to try to bring some comfort and joy at what is an incredibly challenging and difficult time, physically, emotionally and spiritually," Ms Williams added.
The quilts are made from donated fabrics and are given to patients, carers and family members receiving palliative care in the Blue Mountains District ANZAC Memorial Hospital and Springwood Hospital. Not every palliative care patient receives a quilt but it usually goes to a patient without a lot of support, she said
Caring Hearts Community Quilters has their annual Airing of the Quilts at the Arms of Australia Inn Museum in Emu Plains on Saturday April 9, where (weather permitting) more than 90 quilts will be shown. Proceeds from the $5 admission fee goes to purchase wadding. The quilt raffle supports Motor Neurone Disease NSW.
Ms Williams has asked the community to "support this terrific cause and be inspired by the creativity, colour and wonder imbued in every quilt".
Mrs Collier said they started with eight quilts for Springwood Hospital. Last year they made 277.
"The letters we get from relatives about how much joy and comfort .. we've been in tears many times."
Belong Blue Mountains service ensures local volunteers can support patients receiving palliative care, through the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District. Contact Margaret Collier to help with the event: 0438 670 012.
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