For Wanda

Every rug tells a story. There's always a tale behind the design, the colour choice, the hooking. I guess that's what makes every rug a little piece of history. And why their stories need to be told.

Some rugs have much bigger stories to tell, as does the one I am writing about today. This story is "A rug for Wanda."

Wanda is a friend of mine who has been waging a war against cancer. She is a high-energy, extremely creative actor, writer, and communications specialist whom I met through work. We became instant friends.

Cancer has not been as easy to overcome for Wanda as the rest of life's battles, but she is so strong willed and determined that I believe she will persevere. Wanda reached the end of traditional cancer treatments without a happy ending. Not ready to concede, she decided to pursue alternative therapy, and here begins the story of this rug.

To help her raise the money she needs to continue her fight, a group of Wanda's friends organized a fundraiser, East Coast Style, with pot luck dishes, fiddle music, story telling, poetry reading, acting and step dancing. It was amazing to see a former church hall filled with people of all ages and connections there to support her. The food was awesome. The mood was magical.

The evening was filled with creative ways to raise funds, including admission, raffle items and a silent auction. I decided my contribution would be to hook a rug to donate to the silent auction. In keeping with the Celtic theme, I chose a rug titled "Heart Knot", designed by David Rankine a very talented Canadian Celtic artist. I put in a poster displaying the rug, to be hooked in the bidder's choice of colours.

A couple of weeks later, I received a call from Jada Birt who, with her husband John, had bid on the rug. She was an actor friend of Wanda's whom I had never met. We introduced ourselves, talked about Wanda and the fight ahead and we eventually talked about what she wanted me to do with this rug.

We kept in touch via email, with progress images and updates on the rug and on Wanda. As the rug progressed, so did the treatments in Germany. She is undergoing a form of cell therapy in which cells are extracted from the body, treated and re-injected back in to fight the cancer. Wanda travels to Germany for the treatments, then comes back to Canada to rest and recuperate in between treatments. So far, Wanda believes they are working. And that is all that counts. She still has a long way to go.

The rug is finished and has been delivered to Jada and John, who seem very happy with their Heart Knot. I'm sure its story will be told over and over again. I was happy to get to know them and forge another connection to Wanda.

So, here's to old friends coming together to support one another. Here's to new friends who meet in unusual circumstances. Here's to rugs that are created for all the right reasons and that carry hope and love in every loop.

And most of all, here's to Wanda. We are all rooting for you.


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