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Newburyport group creating quilt to raise awareness of ovarian cancer

Pingree School music director Eric Haltmeier will present his work at the World Conference on Music Education in Greece. Pingree School music director Eric Haltmeier will present his work at the World Conference on Music Education in Greece.
By Wendy Killeen
Globe Correspondent / April 12, 2012
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The Greater Newburyport Ovarian Cancer Awareness group has launched a project to create a quilt to increase knowledge of the disease.

Quilters of all levels and abilities are invited to an informational meeting 6:30 p.m. April 25 at the West Newbury Town Hall.

The center square for the CALM (Celebration and Loving Memory) quilt already has been completed. It features a hummingbird, which is the cancer awareness organization’s logo, and a rising sun, as well as teal, the signature color for ovarian cancer awareness.

The square and two others can be seen at Greetings by Design, 4A Winter St., in Newburyport, which is owned by Deb Green, a founding member of the awareness group.

The aim is for quilters to celebrate a survivor or memorialize a loved one or friend who has been lost to the disease, which is the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths in women, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Experienced quilters will be at the meeting to help those who need guidance or assistance.

Each piece should be 12 inches square, including the border necessary for piecing the squares together.

The project also includes the collection of brief biographies or stories explaining each square. They will be put together as a booklet to accompany the quilt at each place it is displayed.

The CALM project is modeled on an ongoing series of quilts that have traveled around the country and abroad.

It began in 1996, when an ovarian cancer survivor shared online the idea of creating a quilt. Fabric artist Nancy LeGendre of Gloucester offered to help collect the squares and piece them together for display.

Women from across the country and with varying degrees of sewing skills contributed squares made from an assortment of fabrics and colorful threads.

That first quilt, originally called the Ovarian Cancer Survivors’ Quilt, was intended as an expression of comfort and hope that others would be able to survive the disease.

It was unveiled at the National Institutes of Health on May 19, 1997, and is the first of five in what is now referred to as the National Ovarian Cancer Quilt.

The Newburyport group works in partnership with the nonprofit group Ovations for the Cure (ovationsforthecure.org) in promoting knowledge of the disease, hope, and support for those already diagnosed, and scientific advancements leading to a cure.

Anyone who would like to contribute a quilt square but cannot attend the meeting may call Cathy Crawford, chairwoman of the CALM quilt project, at 978-363-5406.

SANTA COMES EARLY: Santa’s Magic, a Boxford-based volunteer group that visits and delivers gifts to hospital patients, veterans, and families of deployed soldiers on Christmas Day, is not idle the rest of the year.

On Friday, volunteers are holding a special bingo night for veterans at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, which is one of the locations Santa’s Magic visits on Christmas.

The group is also bringing dinner from Angelica’s Restaurant in Middleton for about 100 veterans.

Santa’s Magic was started by Jim Nentwig of Boxford in 1983, and the volunteers have been making Christmas visits every year since. They expect to visit about 1,000 people Dec. 25.

The nonprofit operates with private and corporate donations and contributions of in-kind services. Visit santasmagic.org.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Andrew Lee, a history teacher at the Pingree School in South Hamilton, has been chosen to participate in the Summer Institute for Early Career Teachers as a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University in June. Lee, a graduate of Phillips Andover, earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brown University and a master of arts in teaching from Boston University. Born in Canada and raised in Hong Kong before coming to the United States for prep school, Lee is in his second year of teaching at Pingree. ... Eric Haltmeier of Ipswich, music director at the Pingree School, has been selected to present his work on musical improvisation in school ensembles at the 30th World Conference on Music Education in Thessaloniki, Greece, in July. He also will participate in one of seven specialized commission seminars at the University of Thrace in Komotini.

Wendy Killeen can be reached at wdkilleen@gmail.com.

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