Quilts recognize the gifts of Lehigh Valley organ donors

The Morning Call | Sarah Fulton
Judy Parr is overcome with emotion as she locates the quilt panel honoring her late husband, Patrick Bryan Ytsma, an avid cyclist who died when he was hit by a car while riding his bike across the Fahy Bridge in Bethlehem in 2012. The quilt is one of several honoring organ and tissue donors in the Lehigh Valley. (CHRIS SHIPLEY / THE MORNING CALL)
Fishing lures, handprints, sports team logos, poetry — each was meant to symbolize someone whose death brought life.
The symbols were woven into "Threads of Love" — a memorial quilt honoring those who saved the lives of others through organ and tissue donation — on display Saturday at the Lehigh Valley Active Life Center in Allentown.
Each of the quilts contained personalized panels made by surviving family members in memory of those they have lost. The event, organized by Gift of Life Donor Program to kick off National Donate Life Month, displayed six large quilts from the Lehigh Valley region and three smaller quilts honoring cases originating at St. Luke's University Hospital and Lehigh Valley Health Network. Each handmade quilt panel offered a snapshot of a personality and individual.
Some featured photos of the donors, others bore no words and told the story through images, such as a Flyers logo, volunteer firefighter patch, cross, peace sign, a snip of a tie or an embroidered turtle. Each quilt was accompanied by a notebook of remembrances from the family members who made them. Those living with grief too difficult to discuss shared no story at all. Continue reading
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