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Girls' ministry to cancer patients leads them to quilt encouragement for center

By Glenn Evans
April 6, 2012 at 10 p.m.


Visits with cancer patients are teaching a group of teens to look beyond themselves to a greater pattern.

"We've learned it's not about us - it's about other people," said Avery Barnhill, who with 14 fellow members of a girls' church group brought two handmade quilts, with encouragement stitched in, to Texas Oncology-Longview Cancer Center on Friday.

Members of the Seventh Grade Girls Life Group at New Beginnings Baptist Church have been visiting cancer patients at Good Shepherd Medical Center since fall.

Avery said she was taken by the patients' concern for others.

"They worried about their friends and family members and not just themselves," she said.

"They just told us to pray for their families to keep strong through their sickness," fellow 13-year-old Elizabeth Whitwell added.

Friday's good gesture extended the youths' ministry to the Fourth Street cancer treatment center.

The young women, all but two of whom never quilted, stitched the roughly 4-by-5-foot quilts, with help from experienced elders. After a night of preliminary work, the girls and their mentors kept the machines humming at Sharman's Sewing Center for two or three hours to complete.

Both quilts have the same theme, centered on a border: "What Cancer Cannot Do." Below that are a few examples: "Shatter Hope," "Stifle Laughter," "Conquer the Spirit" and more.

The idea was engineered by Kathie Gepfert-Amato, who spotted it on a sewing show and knew of the girls' ministry to cancer patients. She's also the mother of cancer center Nurse Practitioner Monica White, who introduced the quilters to patients in the center's Oncology Room where the works will hang.

"This has been a labor of love for them and a gift of love to you," White said. "They appreciate you very much for letting them do this for you."

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