Nearly a decade after a Creston Valley Embroidery Guild program began, 88 Totes for Cancer have been given to Creston Valley women undergoing cancer treatment.
The guild’s program has been running since 2005, when former member Anne Mann made a bag for a friend undergoing cancer treatment.
“She wanted to give her friend something to remind her that she was thinking about her,” said guild member Judy Dyck.
The guild quickly joined in and developed a pattern — which was sold to other sewing groups to raise funds for the Totes for Cancer project — and created a guideline for the size and what pockets should be included.
“We try to make it useful, so they can put all their cancer pills and paper in it,” said a project member who wished to remain anonymous.
“They started out being very strict, and now are a little bit more freeform,” said Dyck.
Two things are required inside, though: a zippered pocket for security and a flat pocket for a journal.
Women undergoing cancer treatment are able to request totes from the guild, but often, members hear about a patient in need of one and make sure a donation is made. They make it easy to spot Creston patients — nurses at cancer treatment facilities have been known to recognize the guild’s work.
And they’re appreciated by the recipients, who are glad to pass them on to others in need.
“Some of the bags that have been given out in the past have come back to us,” said Dyck.
The group that makes the Totes for Cancer is small — about a half-dozen — and Dyck is glad that she can use her skill to create them, and teach others to do the same.
“It’s something I can do,” she said. “I’ve had a couple of workshops in my basement.”
And through their hard work, the current Totes for Cancer makers are carrying on the legacy of caring that Mann created with her first bag.
“The constitution of the guild says one thing we do is reach out to the community in whatever way we can,” said Dyck.
For more information, contact Marg Brown at 250-428-4223.