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Release: Sept. 28, 1999

UI Cancer Center displays ‘quilt with a cause’

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Homespun creativity, handiwork and compassion have been stitched together piece-by-piece to create a quilt with a cause. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities in October, the University of Iowa Cancer Center and the Breast Imaging Center will present a quilt, donated by two area women who offer it as an emblem of hope and unity in the struggle against breast cancer.

The quilt will be on display in the Main Lobby of the UI Hospitals Clinics and featured in a silent auction at the end of the month. All donations collected and proceeds from the auction will go toward providing free mammogram screenings for women who don’t have the financial means to receive them.

Proof that art can represent life, quilt-makers Judy Duehr-Miller and Chyleen Pauesick took on the project as a way to demonstrate their support for friends, community members and all women affected by the disease.

"We wanted to do a good thing. We want the money to help women who have fallen through the cracks," said Duehr-Miller, a central sterilization technician at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. "We love people, and we love to help them."

Both women have home-care experience through the Visiting Nurses Association and saw the opportunity unfold unexpectedly. Inspiration for the project came after flipping through craft magazines and stumbling upon an advertisement for the "Quilt America! Yes Mam! Mammogram Challenge." The nationwide campaign encourages quilt-makers to turn their hobbies into fund-raising projects to raise awareness about breast cancer. The women approached the UI Breast Imaging Center with the idea. They would like to see the quilt project become a yearly fund-raiser, Duehr-Miller said.

After 100 hours of combined labor, the quilt is ready for its debut. This is only Duehr-Miller’s fourth quilt. A spread of pansies, done in a warm brown and cream pattern with a sentiment of friendship, is woven into the fabric. The pattern was chosen from the "Sunday Best" collection, which harks back to early-century traditions when women saved their prized fabrics for Sunday display.

"We chose the pansies because pansies represented friendship at the time," said Duehr-Miller. "We want women to know that they have a friend in this fight."

For information about giving a donation to the quilt, contact Jean Arndt at (319) 384-7931.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.