10 Country- Ambassadors of Comfort - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country- Ambassadors of Comfort

September 24, 2002

Irwin County-- Many of us live in an impersonal world with few friends and neighbors to share life with, unless you live somewhere special.

But there’s a place where people help each other get through the medical trials of life.

The ticking alarm clock in Carene Wheeler’s bedroom constantly reminds her, now more than ever before, to take time for the small things in life, even reading a book.

Time seems a bit more important since she got the scare of her life. “It’s quite a blow,” she said. “You don’t know. You don’t know what to expect.”

She didn’t expect a small, yellow pillow would comfort her so much through 33 radiation and 6 chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, but it did.

The pillow was made by a group of her neighbors called the Irwinville Sewing Group that specializes in comfort. “Three out of five in my family had cancer,” says Bettye Singletary.

It seems cancer has hit their small community of Irwinville especially hard, with many of their friends and neighbors dying from it. The dreaded disease has hit some of the women who sew the pillows, like Mary Clide Fowler, who has had Lymphoma, and hit their family members.

“My former husband died of cancer of the lungs,” says Bea Dea Willis. They felt they had to do something for cancer victims to help them through their ordeal. They get together every Wednesday afternoon and sew together for about two hours.

Their friends push needles through cloth hundreds of times; with near perfect spacing between stitches. They got the idea of making the pillows from a quilting magazine, started their sewing club in late 2000 and, so far, have given about 300 of them away. “It’s just a little bit of love we can share and help someone,” said Christine Wiley.

Each person takes four or five pillows each week to give to cancer victims they hear about. It’s comforting to know people still care about others, giving their time and talents to battle a disease that hits too close to home, too often.

Carene Wheeler got a good check-up recently, and she says she never plans to get rid of her special pillow.

posted at 4:55 PM by dave.miller@walb.com