My husband and I drove the 90 minutes to the cancer center with no idea what to expect. We knew they were going to confirm I had breast cancer, but beyond that, we were clueless.

I wore the white and pink robe around the facility from machine to machine, doctor to doctor, until I got to the last room of the day where the nurse took vials of blood.

When I felt strong enough to stand, she walked me over to a closet and pulled out a beautiful handmade quilt. The shades of deep purple and rich turquoise swirled together, sort of like the joy and pain of our lives. That quilt lays across a chair in my home now, four years later, as a reminder there are people who go before us in kindness to help us along our rocky paths.

Lois Wadell of Fargo is grateful for the people who see us through our scariest times, even if they never get to meet us or we never get to meet them. Here is her story:

“On one of the last days of March 2018, my husband started his cancer journey with his first cancer treatment. At the end of the session, the nurses in the unit presented him with a homemade patchwork quilt. He put the quilt in the living room and showed it to everyone who came into the house.

“When he started spending more time in his ‘man cave’ the quilt went with him, in its bag, hanging on the doorknob. His message about the quilt was very clear. He’d say, ‘Just think, these people got together in a room and took the steps it takes to create a quilt. They did not know who the recipient would be or if it would even be appreciated.’

“With tears in his eyes, he would caress his quilt. He would never take it out of the bag and use it; it was too precious. He would frequently say a little thank you to the people who made that quilt.

“My hubby’s journey ended in mid-August. As he wished, he was covered by his beloved quilt. If you are a person who creates beautiful quilts, mittens, scarves or anything else for others, be assured your labors are truly appreciated. A thank you is hardly enough for what you do for some person’s heart and soul.”

People who use their time, talent and treasure to create something anonymously for another person are hardly ever recognized, but as a good friend often says to me, “There is a special reward waiting for them in heaven.”

Lois, I’m sorry you have lost your husband. He must have been an amazing man, because even in the midst of his pain, he saw the good in people.

I can tell you are an equally amazing women, because even in the midst of your grief, you are filled with gratitude — enough gratitude to reach out and let others know that their kindness matters.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.