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Online Quilt Auction to Raise Funds For Ovarian Cancer Research And Awareness


101Tree of Strength

Tree of Strength by Elizabeth Beck and Jan Cox

By Mara Soloway
Photos By Shawn Green and Barbara Lynn

After several successful online quilt auctions in previous years, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is again holding an online quilt auction with donations of quilted artistry. Since 2008, MD Anderson has held an online quilt auction to benefit its Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program; it has been held every other year since 2011. The 2015 Online Quilt Auction will be held from Oct. 21 to Nov. 4. Bidding starts at noon CST on Oct. 21 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Through research funded in part by this auction, the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program aims to develop effective screening methods and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer.

To participate in the auction, bidders are encouraged to visit ovarianquilt.com and click on the “quilt auction” tab located on the upper left part of the page.

A portion of the 184 quilts donated for the auction – the largest number in the auction’s history – will be on display Oct. 21-23 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at MD Anderson’s Main Hospital, 1515 Holcombe Blvd. on the second floor at The Park near the Donor Wall.

The quilts vary in different shapes, sizes and color with styles ranging from modern art to traditional. The people who donate quilts have been affected by ovarian and other cancers individually or have a family member or friend who have been affected by cancer. Most of the quilters are from Texas and range in age from 40-70. The donated quilts came from 33 states as well as the Netherlands.

Once the highest bidders have been determined, they will be contacted and given payment options. When payment has been received, the winner has the option to pick up their quilt on designated dates or have it mailed to them.

Whether quilts are made for pleasure, practical reasons or as creative expression, each has a story behind it. Venetta Morger’s is one of recovery from cancer and anguish from losing family members from it. At 60, Venetta is a long distance runner, a member of The Woodlands Area Quilt Guild and in remission from breast cancer two years after treatment at MD Anderson.

Of Venetta and her eight siblings, five have the BRAC1 genetic mutation that can cause a higher risk of ovarian and breast cancer, include a brother. Four have had cancer. Additionally, her mother died from ovarian cancer 35 years ago.

“In the past five years, my youngest sister was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer at age 40 and has since passed. Another sister, at age 50, was diagnosed with Stage IIIc ovarian cancer, who just experienced a recurrence and finished her second round of chemotherapy,” Venetta said. “And a sister, who survived breast cancer, was diagnosed with Stage IV ampullary cancer. She is now in hospice.”

While in the breast cancer support group, Venetta met Pamela Weems, program manager for the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program. “Pamela told me about online quilt auction project. I’m a quilter and wanted to do something to help my family. The Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project is a platform to raise funds for needed research at MD Anderson,” she said.

The Online Quilt Auction has a special category called the Cherrywood Fabric challenge in honor of the company owner who passed away from ovarian cancer. Artists are invited to make quilts from fabric packets the company donates. Numerous other companies, fabric designers and artists also contribute to the auction.

Venetta used Cherrywood Fabric for her quilt titled “Circle of Flowers,” which has a flower in the middle symbolizing her mother, and a flower in each of the four corners symbolizing Venetta and her sisters who have been affected by cancer.

She has been on the auction’s steering committee for six years. “I’m honored to make a difference for women, who with their strength, generosity and heart are raising funds for better treatment and detection of ovarian cancer.”

The Online Quilt Auction also has a presence at the International Quilt Festival held every year in Houston, this year from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1. “This is a great venue for us to create awareness and to educate women of the symptoms of ovarian cancer,” Venetta said.

In the days before mass production, quilting used to be a necessity and often created in a social setting. While the quilting bee is generally a thing of the past, creating quilts for auction that commemorate a loved one gives quilters a sense of community in a modern way.

“Quilting promotes healing in a number of ways. So many women know somebody who’s had ovarian cancer, living or passed, and friends make quilts in their honor. It’s a sisterhood of creating art to express themselves and to commemorate somebody,” Venetta said. “Quilters have incredible hearts — so many donate to lots of charities. It’s really very humbling to know how much they give of their time and their resources.”

The Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project was established to educate the public about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer through the artistry of quilting. Experts recommend that women see their health care provider, preferably a gynecologist, if they experience any of the following unexplained conditions almost daily for more than a few weeks:

  • bloating,
  • pelvic or abdominal pain,
  • difficulty eating or feeling full quickly,
  • and frequent and/or urgent need to urinate.

The online auction has become more popular each year that it is held and thus more effective at raising funds for ovarian cancer research. In 2011, 153 quilts and raised $39,000. In 2013, 141 quilts were auctioned, bringing in $51,000.

For a sneak preview of the quilts to be featured in the auction, go to Facebook and search for “Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project.”

For more information about the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project and how to make a donation to the 2017 Online Quilt Auction, call 713-792-2765 or email gynonccommunityrelations@mdanderson.org.

Breaking the Cycle by Sarah Jimenez

Breaking the Cycle by Sarah Jimenez

 

What Lies Within by Madelyn Bell

What Lies Within by Madelyn Bell

 

Starbright by The Wanna Bee from the Woodlands Area Quilt Guild

Starbright by The Wanna Bee from the Woodlands Area Quilt Guild

Circle of Flowers by Venetta Morger

Circle of Flowers by Venetta Morger


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