Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is a devastating disease that leaves a person's body paralyzed while the mind and spirit stay alert and active. An ALS patient can see, hear, and feel; they can think clearly. But they can’t move or speak; eventually they can’t even breathe on their own. Currently there is no treatment, nor cure. Sadly, most patients die within 5 years of diagnosis.
A ray of hope is shining from the Hopes and Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS. Launched in 2009 by Kathy Thompson and her amazing staff at Quilter’s Dream Batting, the Challenge encourages quilters to make and donate quilts. When Kathy’s son, Josh, was diagnosed with ALS, she began this challenge to raise awareness about the disease, to provide quilts to ALS, and to raise money for ALS research.
An estimated $100,000 has been raised since the Challenge began. All of the proceeds go to research grants. Thousands of quilts have been donated. The program is expanding from a U.S. effort to an international one. The Quilters Dream Batting Company pays for all printing and labor costs of the program.
The Hopes and Dreams team collects the quilts and distributes them to ALS chapters. The ALS chapters personally deliver the quilts to ALS patients, keeping them warm and letting them know people are aware, and are thinking about them.
How can you help? It’s simple…make and donate quilts to this cause. Many ALS patients battle this disease alone, with little or no family support. They will be thrilled to receive your quilt and to learn a little about you – a thoughtful and generous quilter and friend. You can even write a message for ‘your’ patient, to be presented with your quilt.
Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS
- Begins August 1st and ends July 31st of the next year (quilts received after July 31st are automatically entered in to the next year's challenge)
- Minimum quilt size is 35"x 44" or larger. Lap or bed quilts of all sizes are welcomed.
- The addition of a 4" removable or hidden sleeve on the backside of the quilting is encouraged so the quilt can be displayed.
- Please note the size of your finished quilt on the Entry Form.
- If you use a specific pattern or fabric line and would like to share that with fellow entrants the information is shared on the Hopes & Dreams Facebook page for the enjoyment of quilters across the world.
- Tied quilts, knit, or crocheted blankets are welcome -- however, at this time they are not eligible for quilt challenge prizes.
A letter from Kathy Thompson, owner of Quilters Dream BattingI am proud to announce the 6th Annual Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS.
As many of you may know, my beautiful son, Josh, was diagnosed with ALS when he was just 32 years old. At this writing he has gone from a vibrant healthy athletic young newlywed to being completely paralyzed and on life support – unable to breathe, eat, talk or move. All of this while being fully cognitive and able to feel all pain.
ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, is one of the most common neurological diseases, yet one of the most debilitating to suffer and 100% fatal. For unknown reasons the disease isaffecting an increasing number of younger individuals and the military.
In this devastating journey with ALS, the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge has been a beacon of hope. I started the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS with the support of my amazing staff. Our hope is to raise awareness about this 100-year old disease that has no treatment or cure; to be able to give quilts to very ill, often lonely and isolated ALS patients – letting them know there are people out there who really care; and to sell select quilts with all proceeds going to ALS Research. I have been touched beyond belief by the generosity of quilters, of the beautiful thoughts, stories and prayers that are sent with the quilts, the touching sweet and heartfelt gratitude of patients receiving the quilts, and the generosity of our prize sponsors.
I am hopeful that you will join us in the 6th Annual Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS and that it will be the best year ever as a result of your participation. All quilts donated are entered to receive fantastic prizes donated by our wonderful sponsors.
Josh’s dream is to one day hug his two young sons. Research is the key to making dreams come true for Josh and the hundreds of thousands living and dying with ALS.
“Hope loves company” –
THANK YOU for the company!
Kathy Thompson (Josh’s Mom)
Letters from Two ALS Patients
One of your beautiful quilts was given to my husband, who was diagnosed with ALS on Aug. 22, 2013, at Hershey ALS Clinic. What a wonderful, wonderful gift of love. May God bless each and every one of you. Your quilt will be put to good use; we love sharing your story with family and friends as we show them the awesome quilt you made. With Love and gratitude, Darla & Denny
My husband, Hank, has been diagnosed with ALS. Barbar Gascho, the Pastoral Care Counselor at the Milton Hershey Medical Center Neurology Department, presented my husband with a lovely quilt made by you and your Dream Team. It was very cold the day of his appointment and the quilt kept his legs toasty. He's been using it ever since. Thank you for the quilt and for all you do to support the ALS cause. Sincerely, Rita