History in a Quilt

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked in October each year in countries around the world. The goal is to increase attention and support for breast cancer awareness, early detection and treatment.

This notion of an “awareness month” dates back to the mid-1980s in the United States and spread to Canada quickly. The pink ribbon took hold as a symbol of breast cancer awareness in the mid-1990s.

It’s a month during which folks make sure to display their pink ribbon car magnets, participate in fundraising events and spread awareness among family and friends.

For BRIGHT Run, every month of the year is a breast cancer awareness month, as many of our dedicated volunteers and participants work year-round to make the celebration happen every September since 2008.

This year, for the first time, the history of the BRIGHT Run is commemorated in a beautiful hand-made quilt that incorporates a range of T-shirts marking each year of the BRIGHT Run.

Event chair Nancy McMillan saw a quilt made of souvenir T-shirts at a quilt show in Florida few years ago. She already had a couple of bins of souvenir BRIGHT T-shirts and an appeal on the BRIGHT Run Facebook page brought in all but one of the 35 shirts.

Master quilter Denise Julian embraced the opportunity to quilt with T-shirts for the first time.

“I was excited about the project,” she said. “It looked like a lovely challenge.”

Denise, a long-time BRIGHT Run participant and retired research coordinator at the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group (OCOG) at the Juravinski Hospital, drafted husband Jim, to help design the quilt. Jim recently retired as OCOG’s associate director and senior statistician and a BRIGHT Run participant as well.

“A collaborative effort helped to choose the design elements,” Denise said. “Once that was done, it was fairly straight-forward.”

Denise also enlisted the quilting help of Debbie Winn of Winnspired Quilting.

Nancy hopes to find a home for the beautiful quilt in the Juravinski Cancer Centre, “if we are able to safely display it in keeping with health and safety protocols. If not, I will hold it in safekeeping and bring it out for special BRIGHT Run occasions.”