Quillows for cancer patients

Chances are, you or someone you know has been affected by cancer in some way.

Some local volunteers are doing their best to help make cancer patients a little more comfortable during their treatments.

Volunteers with The Judy Alderson Foundation make what they call, "quillows."

They're quilts that turn into pillows.

Patients can use them to stay warm during chemotherapy treatments.

KHQA's Rajah Maples attended a volunteer "work day" the day after Christmas for an inside look at the *materials* and love used to make a "quillow of hope."

Skip Alderson lost his mother to cancer in 2006. But her spirit lives on through her namesake non-profit, "The Judy Alderson Foundation. Skip and his wife, Molly, started the foundation in Judy's memory.

Skip Alderson says, "She was in the medical field her entire life, and we wanted to do something to give back and keep her name alive as she always did helping people."

So, Skip and Molly now have a group of volunteers and monetary supporters to help carry out their mission. Volunteers cut, pin, sew and anything else needed to help keep cancer patients warm and comfortable during chemotherapy.

Molly Alderson says, "It's something that provides comfort when you're going through something very scary. They can fold it up and take it with them."

The organization has made several hundred quillows since its inception in 2007. It's distributed them to cancer patients at Blessing Hospital in Quincy and St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis. The organization has added a VA hospital in St. Louis to its list of recipients. So volunteers bought this camoflauge-designed material to make for veterans who've been diagnosed with the disease.

Skip Alderson says, "Through treatment when you get chemotherapy, you're often in a cold environment and your body temperature is very cold as well. So a friend of the family made us a bright pink blanket called a quillow and gave that to mom, and she took it with her for all her cancer treatments, and it really made a difference in keeping her warm."

When the quillows are finished, they're folded, tagged and put in these bags to be dropped off at hospitals, which distribute them privately to cancer patients. And sadly, there's no shortage of need. So it looks like the organization will have plenty of work ahead of them in 2009.

If you'd like to learn more about The Judy Alderson Foundation, donate or volunteer your time, log on to