History of the Quilt

Quilt Beginnings

As a mom of six, I've have had the privilege of making "story" quilts for my children's teachers and family friends, often for wedding or baby gifts.

The NDFC QuiltsI thought about how great it would be to make a quilt to remember my little Katie, who died at age six and was a donor. I wondered about the kind of patch she might like and then thought about other donor families. I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to have a national quilt to remember all of them and to promote organ and tissue donation?" The NDFC eagerly supported the project. The Quilt became a reality.

Families Share Patches

Patches of Love began arriving as soon as we published an article in For Those Who Give and Grieve, a quarterly newsletter for donor families published by the NDFC. There were traditional Quilt patches, some made from baby blankets or the donor's favorite clothes, some with photos, patches or embroidery.

As I sewed, I wondered about the donor, feeling that I knew each one in a special way through the life presented on the patch. I knew in a personal way how very difficult it was to put the life of a loved one on an eight-inch square. Soon, many of the local recovery organizations developed local quilts, giving families the opportunity to make patches for both national and local quilts.

The Quilt Today

Before we knew it, we had several panels that traveled throughout the United States, honoring donors and promoting organ and tissue donation. As of this printing, the Quilt has over 32 panels and it will never be finished. We know there will always be more families who face the death of a loved one and make the decision to donate. We would like to offer them the opportunity to honor that special person.

Maggie Coolican
Donor Mom
Founding Chair, National Donor Family Council