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Press Release Archive (2016)

Cervical Cancer Patients Find Comfort in Traditional Creative Form

Support by local resident brings national exhibit to community

Lowell, MA  -  Quilting, sewing and other handwork is a long-time tradition for women around the world - a practical art as well as a unifying activity that provides support and friendship. The New England Quilt Museum brought to light how quilting can be a medium for expression in this modern day by hosting the Cervical Cancer/HPV Quilt Project managed by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. (For more information see

Quilt Donation with Meg, Rhonda and Linda

Linda Chemaly of Chelmsford (right) presents her donation which supported the special quilt exhibit for cervical cancer to Rhonda Galpern, Outreach Program Manager at the New England Quilt Museum (center) and Meg Lemire, Director of Oncology Social Work and  Community Outreach at Lowell General Hospital (left).

The quilts, composed of squares made by, or in memory of, women who have battled cervical cancer, were on display at the New England Quilt Museum January 22 through February 12.

"These quilts are more like message boards than works of art," said Galpern. "They are a place for women experiencing any type of cancer, to express their emotions such as grief, anger, and for many, relief and hope. They really tell the situation of the person - we encouraged anyone experiencing any type of cancer to take the time to read them."

This exhibit was the result of a partnership between Rhonda Galpern, Outreach Program Manager at the New England Quilt Museum, and Meg Lemire, Director of Oncology Social Work and Community Outreach at Lowell General Hospital, and made possible by Linda Chemaly of Chelmsford, whose thoughtful donation was made specifically to support the outreach efforts related to cervical cancer.

Through her support, a quilt named "Ribbons of Hope" was donated to Lowell General Hospital's Cancer Center as a raffle prize to help raise funds to assist cancer patients. Blocks of fabric for the quilt were donated by Lynda Bregy of State College, PA. It was machine quilted with the motifs of ribbons, large and small, in a variegated teal to white thread, the colors of ribbons for cervical cancer awareness.

Dory Toppan admires QuiltThe quilt was presented to Lemire at an education and awareness presentation on cervical cancer with oncology nurse Monica Buckley, RN, from The Cancer Center at Lowell General. More than 20 museum volunteers and community members were in attendance for the event on Thursday, February 5.

The New England Quilt Museum was founded in 1987 by a corps of passionate individuals who dreamed of a place dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of antique and contemporary quilts. Today the 18,000 square foot space holds exhibition galleries, a library and resource center, classroom, a museum store, collection storage, staff offices, and support areas.

The Cancer Center at Lowell General Hospital is recognized with certification and commendation as a comprehensive community cancer center and a leader in cancer care in the Merrimack Valley. The center offers patients and their families the greatest hope and compassion and is aligned with the hospital's missions for patient care excellence and commitment with the community.

Dory Toppan of Chelmsford admires the completed "Ribbons of Hope" quilt on display. Dorry's long-time friend, Lynda Bregy, donated the fabric blocks for the quilt which was made by volunteers of the New England Quilt Museum and donated to Lowell General Hospital to help raise funds for cancer patients treated at The Cancer Center.

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