Breast cancer survivor finds comfort in quilting community

Michelle Hines has never had ovarian cancer. But that didn’t stop the
Maryland transplant from making a quilt that directly supports MD Anderson’s ovarian cancer research.

The quilt she made especially for the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project will go up for
auction later this year. Its colorful design was inspired by the logo
created for MD Anderson’s 75th
anniversary last fall. Proceeds from the sale of Michelle’s quilt and
dozens of others will benefit the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at
MD Anderson.

“I first saw the pattern on the wall of the Mays Clinic in July
2016,” Michelle says. “I never would have thought to put those colors
together, but I just thought it was so cool. The minute I walked into
the hospital, I knew I had to make that design into a quilt.”

Heart: what makes MD Anderson special

Through Instagram, Michelle found and reached out to Gini Reed, the
MD Anderson graphic designer who created
the logo. She was delighted when the designer agreed to share the layout.

“Gini’s not a quilter, and I know it’s part of her job to understand
color and shading and places to rest your eyes, but she still did an
incredible job designing it,” Michelle says.

It took Michelle about a month to finish the quilt, and she’s
excited about it being in the auction this fall.

“My quilt matches the 75th anniversary logo almost
perfectly,” Michelle says. “I just added some color around a section
that kind of looks like a heart to make it stand out more, because
heart is such a big part of what makes MD
Anderson
special.”

Quilting through breast cancer treatment

Quilting also played a big part in Michelle’s experience when she
was a breast cancer patient here. After her diagnosis
in June 2015, Michelle underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and 17 rounds of targeted therapy.

“Even with the strongest anti-nausea medicine, some days I could barely move
without getting sick,” she says. “But there is a very strong quilting
community on Instagram, and we would do swaps. We’d pick a theme, be
assigned a partner and make a mini-quilt for that person by a certain day.”

Unlike full-size quilting projects, the mini-quilts weren’t
overwhelming. They also forced Michelle to get up and move around when
she was feeling sick or tired.

“Quilting is what I focused on instead of cancer,” she says. “It
helped me get going.”

Celebrating cancer-free status by giving back

Since November 2015, the veteran quilter has been cancer-free — a
feat Michelle attributes to MD Anderson.
Making a quilt seemed like the perfect way to give back to the place
that has given her so much.

MD Anderson saved my life, not just
with breast cancer, but with ovarian remnant syndrome, too,” Michelle
says. “It’s not cancer-related, but I developed that condition after a
hysterectomy in 2000, and had multiple complications over the years.
MD Anderson doctors finally fixed the
last of them, and after that, I had no abdominal pain for the first
time in 14 years.”

The deadline to submit a quilt for the Ovarian Cancer Quilt
Project is May 31, 2017. The next quilt auction is scheduled for Oct.
25–Nov. 8, 2017.

Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by
calling 1-877-632-6789.