Monroe woman makes quilts for pancreatic cancer patients in her community

A Monroe woman who has been raising awareness for pancreatic cancer for almost 10 years is now making purple quilts with friends for people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Jo Hawthorne, 73, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer nine years ago. She underwent surgery, and is now a survivor of what is often a deadly disease. Today, she works to spread awareness of pancreatic cancer, which is often characterized with the color purple.

“I feel so blessed that they caught mine in time, and I just want to pay it forward,” she said. “I just kind of made awareness my goal.”

Hawthorne was part of two action teams at Generosity Day held at the Monroe Town Square hosted by Thrivent Financial. One booth was a dunk tank called Dunk Pancreatic Cancer, and the other was Quilts for Pancreatic Cancer.

The quilts booth was a place where people could decorate quilt squares. Now, Hawthorne and her friends are using these squares to create quilts for people in the community who have been diagnosed.

“It’s just really taken off, it’s sad that I have so many I have to distribute, but it’s one small thing I can do,” she said.

So far, with the help of friends, she has given eight quilts to people who are diagnosed in her community. The quilts can take days, weeks or even months to create depending on how experienced a quilter is and the amount of time they have on their hands.

Monroe woman makes quilts for pancreatic cancer patients in her community

“I try to get them to the patients, you know Monroe’s small and news travels fast, so I try to get them a quilt before they pass away.”

Many of the people Hawthorne makes quilt for die, but during that time while they are in treatment the quilts provide comfort.

“From diagnosis to terminal illness, it’s not long, and the quilts provide comfort,” Hawthorne said. “It’s just been such a positive experience, in the midst of something tragic.”