The Komen Quilt
Blankets may keep you warm. But, quilts… quilts tell a story.
That is certainly true for this quilt. The story behind this quilt goes back more than ten years. That’s when Karen Leidel, MS, RD, LD, clinical dietician at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, got the news that no one wants to hear. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.
While the news was devastating and her treatment was grueling – both chemotherapy and radiation, Karen credits her OhioHealth family for helping her get through it. “OhioHealth was wonderful to me. The whole staff was so supportive. I was off work forever and my manager was so supportive. I was told not to worry about my job, just focus on getting better.”
The experience also sparked her dedication to the annual Komen Columbus Race for the Cure. Karen participates each year and is proud to wear the special pink “survivor” t-shirt. She was compiling quite a collection until she knew what to do with them.
Her fellow associate at Riverside Methodist, Margaret Hughes, RN, was now in the midst of her own battle with breast cancer. Karen made a quilt of her survivor t-shirts and presented the quilt to Margaret while she was in the hospital for her own treatment. Margaret holds back tears when she describes that moment, “Words can’t describe how I felt. It was such an incredible gift. I was so grateful for her support.”
Margaret now wears her own pink survivor shirt at the race each year. “I may be cured now, but to see fellow pink
shirts at the race each year, that means a lot to me.” Margaret even changed jobs so she can pay it forward. She’s
been with OhioHealth for 35 years, and recently started a new job at OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, where she is a nurse for radiation/oncology. “I am blessed to be able to help these patients. I know what many of them are going through and can share my own story with them.”
Being a breast cancer survivor, Karen also has a new perspective when it comes to her patients. She’s worked at Riverside Methodist for more than 30 years and now, she is able to make a connection with many of them. “Now when they tell me they can’t eat because they have no appetite, I know what that means now. I experienced that exact same thing.”
Looking back on their breast cancer journeys, both women have new perspectives.
Margaret says, “Every day I pray for a cure.” While Karen reflects, “I live my life different now. I don’t worry about things that you can’t change and I take things as they come.”