Quilting Cancer: Sharing a courageous voice

(The quilts on the cover were made by Kelly for her daughters Shaelyn, Sierra, and Sheridan.)

Sometimes in life we become witnesses to incredible acts of bravery, only partially aware at the time, but later able to appreciate the full magnitude of what we experienced. During the aftermath, there is a sense, almost an obligation, of wanting to share these everyday stories of inspiration.

I know I’m not alone. Many of us brush shoulders with unforgettable acts of courage, people who possess an unlimited well of resilience. They will themselves forward, accepting their circumstances yet never giving up.

Their stories are often quiet, unfolding without fanfare, but they encompass the backbone of humanity. A silent strength that weaves us all together, and, the more we know about these people, the stronger we become as a society.

So I decided to record my sister Kelly’s journey with adversity, her eight-year battle with cancer, by publishing her blog, Quilting Cancer (available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle), along with essays reflecting on Kelly’s bravery and the lessons she taught me.

My intention is not to turn Kelly into a saint or deify her. Like all of us, Kelly had faults, yet at the end of her life, she revealed a core strength and selflessness. She learned how to fully live while also preparing to die.

Her message transcends time and location. It is the universal call to embrace life despite one’s circumstances. It speaks of selflessness—Kelly was constantly concerned with others, always thankful for even the smallest assistance—and finding joy in the simplest everyday occurrences.

To borrow from Proverbs 3:3—a verse I return to again and again—Kelly’s lessons will never leave me. They are bound around my neck, written on the tablet of my heart.

(All profit from the book will be donated to St. Luke’s MSTI-Fruitland.)

13 thoughts on “Quilting Cancer: Sharing a courageous voice

    • Erin December 18, 2017 / 7:06 am

      Thank you! And happy holidays to you and your family!


  1. Alan Fanning December 18, 2017 / 11:10 am

    Just ordered two copies of the paperback. Not sure when I’ll be able to bring myself to read it. But thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erin December 18, 2017 / 3:27 pm

      Thank you, Alan! Lots of love to you, and I hope you have a peaceful, happy Christmas!


  2. cleemckenzie December 18, 2017 / 11:49 am

    Beautiful tribute to your sister, Erin. Thank you for telling us her story of strength and showing us her quilts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erin December 18, 2017 / 3:25 pm

      Thank you! Kelly’s example of bravery and selflessness is always relevant but feels particularly so during this time of year. Merry Christmas!


  3. Darcy Gleave December 18, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    Kelly was one of the most loving and inspiring people I’ve ever met. Just listening to her talk made me want to be a better mom, a more selfless person, a stronger woman. I honestly can say that she touched my life in so many ways- and her amazing attitude inspired all! Thank you for continuing her light❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erin December 19, 2017 / 8:15 am

      Thank you, Darcy! I truly believe that Kelly will continue to inspire people for years to come… Children who knew her as a nurse practitioner or college students who knew her as a professor will remember her lessons of kindness and courage as they get older and perhaps tell their children about Kelly and what she taught them–an endless cycle. I’ll be thinking of you over the holidays and hoping you have a peaceful, happy Christmas!


  4. Susie Spoolstra-Kelley December 19, 2017 / 11:11 pm

    There is not a day that goes by that my heart doesn’t miss her, she loved me like a sister and I could tell her anything. Thank you Sweet Erin for sharing !!
    Much ❤️ 💕 LOVE! 🤗 Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erin December 20, 2017 / 7:13 am

      Thank you, Susie! Kelly was truly exceptional in her ability to listen to others and really care about their thoughts and feelings. It’s one of the many things that she taught me, but I also learned an important lesson from you last year–to never hesitate to offer help. Your thoughtfulness has been so appreciated! I hope you and your family have a happy, peaceful Christmas!


  5. rluckystarranch January 7, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    It is a wonderful book of courage in the face of terrible odds. Kelly was a very strong courageous person with a vey bright outlook on life. She went at everything she did at 110%. Erin this is a beautiful tribute to your sister and should be read by everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erin January 7, 2018 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you! And I have learned a lot about courage and perseverance from you too–you are an inspiration to many people! I look forward to seeing you soon!


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