Somewhere in a hospital bed at City of Hope, a patient is snoozing under a blanket. It may burst with colored shapes, feature cute animals or remain mute and understated. But whatever it looks like, the quilt carries a single, unfaltering message from its maker.
“I care about you.”
Perla Rothenberg displays one of her quilts. (Photo by p.cunningham)
More than 40 handcrafted quilts recently made their way from the halls of the Irell & Manella law firm to City of Hope’s Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, forming the final product of a holiday tradition.
Each quilt is created entirely by employees at the law firm, and staff members meet weekly in a dedicated room at the company, located in the Century City area of Los Angeles, to cut and sew the pieces. It can take eight to 40 hours to complete a quilt.
“This is one of the best days of the year for us,” said Linda Klein, manager of operations at the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, as a dozen quilters arrived Nov. 30, 2011, with bags brimming with blankets. “Thank you so much.”
Quilters include encouraging messages with the quilts and indicate whether each quilt might be best for a young child, older man or a patient with other characteristics. Staff members at the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center then place each quilt with a patient who might need a cheerful boost.
Now finishing their eighth year, the quilters have created more than 200 of the fabric art pieces for City of Hope patients.
“What an amazing way to honor patients,” said Klein, marveling at one of the quilts.
But Heather Goulet, one of the quilters, was quick to praise City of Hope’s staff instead. “What we do is easy compared to what you do.”
Irell & Manella has generously given to City of Hope. Its $10 million in gifts to the institution have endowed a chair for the cancer center, renamed the graduate school as the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences and created a visiting professorship. Irell & Manella partner Morgan Chu, J.D., Ph.D., and his wife, Helen Chu, also have donated $5 million to endow the dean’s chair for the graduate school and the directorship of Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.