Thursday, March 13, 2014


"Energy and persistence conquer all things." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Five years.  

The Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS is five years old.  When Kathy Thompson, Juanita Kelly and the staff at Quilters Dream Batting started the challenge they hoped to receive 100 quilts in the first year. They received 1,500 quilts.  

In the next three years to follow, Hopes & Dreams has given more than 3,300 quilts to "PALS" - people living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) - through a relationship with ALS Chapters across the country that is more like a wonderful friendship than service project.

In the fourth year, the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS became an official 501(c)3 non-profit called Hopes and Dreams, Inc., and has been blessed to be able to give more than $80,000 to ALS Research.  Research that is helping to create the technology to successfully implant stem cells into ALS patients without any adversity, offering the hope of treatment.

Five years.  

As Benjamin Franklin knew, sometimes it may take a little while for sparks to ignite and light the flame of energy and persistence, but when it comes, it is a force to behold.  For the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS, a new spark has been lit and the energy resulting from that spark is exciting.

Earlier this year we asked quilt shops and quilt guilds across the U.S. to help us with the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS and many immediately jumped on board.  These shops are having Sewathons and special Quilt Drives for Hopes & Dreams and we are thrilled.

Two quilt shop owners called and told us that they had seen the Hopes & Dreams Entry Forms inside Quilters Dream Batting, and honestly had not paid much attention to it.  But for them, this year the challenge hit home.

Susan Pettengill with The Joyful Quilter Quilt Shop in Glenville, New York and Sharon Kaiser with Quilt-N-Bee Quilt Shop in Traverse City, Michigan have both lost a loved one to ALS.  

Alden Pettengill
Meet Alden Pettengill, Susan Pettengill's cousin.  Susan told us she wanted to be a part of Hopes & Dreams to honor her cousin who died of ALS.  Susan writes, "My cousin, Alden, had an incredible passion for life and adventure.  I will always remember him as strong and athletic, with a very kind and loving spirit.  His legacy continues on through the Alden Pettingill Foundation, started by his family after his death.  In some small way, I hope The Joyful Quilter's support of the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS honors his memory and helps other families like his."

Meet Cheryl, Sharon Kaiser's neice, who died of ALS at the age of 50.  Sharon wrote that Cheryl was always willing to share her gifts with others and that she wanted to participate in Hopes & Dreams to share that with families who also have a loved one living with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).  Sharon writes, "One of the last things I did with and for my neice was to finish a quilt for her middle son.  Cheryl had chosen McKenna Ryan patterns for the blocks and combined them into a quilt which depicted her love for her son and Colorado.  I had thought that ALS was a rare disease, until it hit our family.  I now realize just how rampant this disease is and anything I can do to fight this disease will be a triumph for Cheryl and all who suffer from this terrible disease."

Susan and Sharon decided they wanted to take their mutual passion to conquer ALS to a different level - and thus the "SPLISH SPLASH QUILT BASH" is born.

This is the first time two quilt shops have created teams of quilters to see who can make and donate the most quilts and quilted items to the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge.  While the 'official' start date is May 1st, the enthusiasm for this challenge with quilters in Glenville, New York and Traverse City, Michigan has already begun and quilts are already being donated.  Susan said on the phone recently, "We would love to send you an 18-wheeler loaded with quilts."  [All joking aside, we would LOVE them!]

This challenge has lead to yet another.  Talking with Susan and Sharon is such a blessing and well, the 'fun' lead to another challenge - they decided to go after me!  Well, I (Jennifer, your Hopes & Dreams Coordinator) accepted the challenge and in year six - it will be the "Splish Splash Quilt Bash" between the States of New York, Michigan, and our Hopes & Dreams "home" State of Virginia.

Yes, you read that right.  Three States, three 'anchor' quilt shops - now to include Sew E-Z Quilt Shop and it's owner Freida Doubts here in Virginia Beach, Virginia - working to encourage as many quilt shops and quilt guilds and individual quilters in their states to make and donate quilts and quilted items to Hopes & Dreams.

And we couldn't be more excited.

What about you?  Would you like to be an 'anchor' quilt shop in your home state, or be a 'Hopes & Dreams Ambassador' for your state and try to be a part of our challenge that will begin August 1, 2014 and continue through July 31st, 2015?  YES!  Then give us a call toll-free at (888) 268-8664 or email us at and say you want to take part in the "Splish Splash Quilt Bash."  We will send you the challenge rules and help you generate some excitement in your state.

Energy and Persistence.  Together it gives HOPE to our DREAMS of a CURE for ALS!
Your Grateful Hopes & Dreams Coordinator

No comments:

Post a Comment