C.Cure.ity Blanket

C.Cure.ity Mary and son CameronOne family’s fight against cancer has created a tangible symbol of hope – the “c.cure.ity blanket” – to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, education and patient care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

The c.cure.ity blanket is a quilt that incorporates the 26 different coloured ribbons people wear to support a form of cancer. With a square for each one, the result is a single-bed sized quilt with 233 ribbons fanning out from the pale pink ribbon for breast cancer at the centre.

The quilt project began with Mary Chiarot, a breast cancer survivor, and her son, Cameron, manager of research and development at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the research arm of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. They decided to build cancer awareness while providing the love, comfort, and warmth that comes from a childhood security blanket.

Cameron particularly appreciated the experience creating the quilt gave him. “The time spent working together offered [me] the experience of bonding…this quilt project allowed for reflection on my own life, and was inspired to live everyday to the fullest,” he says.

It all began in 1999 when Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time, she was planning quite a different journey. With husband Larry, Mary was preparing to leave for Taiwan. A full year of travel, new experiences and teaching English lay ahead of them. All was organized: the tickets, the luggage, vaccines; the house was rented and they had even celebrated their departure with friends and family. But this journey soon veered dramatically off course when Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer the week before departure. Instead, the trip to Taiwan was postponed and a whole new journey began for Mary.

“It is so important to catch this disease in the ‘bud’,” she says. Five years later, Mary is cancer free, following medical treatment in Canada and the United States. She and her husband retired to Sharbot Lake, Ontario where Mary busied herself with moving in, making friends and finding new hobbies. One of the hobbies she enjoyed most was quilting and she presented Cameron with one of her beautiful creations.

“Quilts are comforting and provide love and care in their own unique way. They can also be made to represent just about any idea imaginable,” says Mary. His mother’s new hobby inspired Cameron to develop the idea to promote cancer awareness and raise funds.

The c.cure.ity blanket aims to build cancer awareness and provide the comfort of a security blanket from childhood. In partnership with The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, Cameron and Mary are selling to the public through Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Proceeds will go towards cancer research, education and patient care at the hospital.

Although Mary is a cancer survivor, she knows the importance of continuing the fight against the disease for those who have not been as fortunate.

“The secret to early detection is public awareness, annual checkups, screening and [watching for] symptoms,” she says “we need to find out and do more through preventive medicine against this disease.”


Reviewed: October 2013