PLATTSBURGH — Kate Del Signore has a floral motif at the center of her Parkinson's disease quilt block.
Explaining why she created the block, she writes: "Joining with other people with Parkinson's has encouraged me to live well with Parkinson's until we find a cure. I have always loved art of all kinds, and I'm discovering with patience and endurance that I can find new ways to express my hopes for the future!"
Del Signore was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age 50. For the last five years, she has been a member of the Plattsburgh Parkinson's Support Group.
On the Parkinson's disease website, Del Signore learned about the foundation's "global-quilt project to focus the world's attention on the nearly 1 million people in the United States and more than 4 million worldwide living with Parkinson's disease (PD)," writes Del Signore. "The project aims to raise awareness of the impact that the disease has on people living with Parkinson's — along with their families, caregivers and friends — and our continued urgency to find a cure."
She broached the subject with her Support Group members, and they decided to participate in the project.
"It has been quite a process," Del Signore said.
They set a goal to make 16 panels to represent North Country Parkinson's disease patients and their families. Overall, the quilt has more than 2,000 panels. Each panel is 2 feet by 2 feet, sewn together in 8-foot sections. Those panels, too many to be sewn into a single quilt, will be hung from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at the second World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow, Scotland.
"We were lucky enough to partner up with the Champlain Valley Quilter's Guild of New York, who helped us to complete many of the 16 panels needed for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's quilt project," writes Del Signore. "Many generous supporters contributed over $400 for the project's registration costs. The Quilt Guild is renowned for its creativity and generosity in donating many quilts each month to local causes, and we are so grateful for their support."
"Susan Minnie, the community-outreach person for the Quilter's Guild, is hoping we will be able to get it up for display at our next quilt show," said Judy Russell, who also has Parkinson's and participated in the project.
Russell has three bands of red tulips at the center of her work, titled "Tulips for Isabel."
About the block, she writes:
"My panel was cut out by my friend Niki Gemmill and sewn by me in memory of my mother, Isabel Smith. Isabel lived with Parkinson's disease for 11 years before her death in 1999 at 89. An artist, musician and gardener, my mother expressed herself creatively in all aspects of her life. Flower gardens were a passion of hers and are represented by the red tulips symbolizing the fight for a cure."
"While I was making my quilt square, I said, 'Mom, you never got to travel around the world but now you will," Russell said. "'Tulips for Isabel' will hopefully go around the world."
Carol Ruscoe and Niki Gemmill created blocks to honor Russell, their dear friend. Russell's husband, John, had one created also. Janet Booth sewed one for her friend Kate. Bette Brohel had Mary Lou Beauharnois create a block in honor of Ed Brohel, Bette's husband and a former colleague of Beauharnois at Plattsburgh State.
Others were contributed by Patricia Woods, Helga Petropoulos, Lora Barshow and Anne Crahon, Ladies of the Lake Quilters, and Carol Crowningshield for her husband, Malcolm "Mickey," who was diagnosed with Parkinson's eight years ago.
About her block, Crowningshield writes:
"In July of 2008, my daughter and her friend decided to kayak from Port Kent, NY, to the State of Liberty in NYC for "Paddle for a Cure" for Team Fox. The total distance was approximately 300 miles, and they completed this paddle in less than ten days. They were by no means top notch athletes; this is what makes this journey more inspiring. I am so very proud of her. This panel represents that journey."
Barbara Lichtig, who founded the Support Group, was diagnosed with Parkinson's 13 years ago. She called on her friend, Del Signore, to create her block, which features a photograph of Lichtig with her granddaughter, Robin.
"She's 2-and-a-half," Lichtig said. "It says, 'I love my grandma! Please find a cure for PD.'"
E-mail Robin Caudell at: firstname.lastname@example.org