When Julie “Bunny” Baker heard the words, “cancer free” in October of 2017, she knew she needed to do something with this blessing of time that she had been given. It wasn’t until she met with Karen Violette, the daughter-in-law of a resident at Brookdale Pinehurst where Baker works as a Program Coordinator, that she figured out what exactly that was.

Baker was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. It was aggressive, but fortunately, they caught it early. With the best doctors by her side, nine chemotherapy treatments and 33 radiation treatments later, she was eventually declared cancer free. She was eager to get back to working with the memory care residents at the senior living community she has spent the last 22 years in.

When Violette showed Baker a quilt she had made, Violette suggested they try quilting with the residents. So, they gathered materials and got the residents to work. They were astonished at how well the residents took on the project and how much they enjoyed it.

Acts of kindness like this aren’t necessarily unique. But what is unique is the group making these quilts. Baker works at a memory care community and the residents helping her all have varying levels of cognitive impairments. Knowing that person-centered activities have many positive effects on those living with dementia, Baker was quick to say yes to try out this project with the residents, especially those that had a background in sewing.

The group donated their first six quilts to the local children’s center. It was then that the idea struck Baker to donate to the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center; the very one she spent so much of her battle in.

Each quilt is cut, sewn and ironed by the residents, with assistance from Baker and Violette. Sewn into each quilt is a special saying that begins with, “Cancer cannot…” as encouragement to the one that receives the specially made quilt. As a surprise, Baker was gifted her own quilt with the saying, “Cancer cannot destroy faith” to represent her own journey of faith through her diagnosis and remission.

Quilt donations to the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center began in September. 

About Brookdale:

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is the leading operator of senior living communities throughout the United States. The Company is committed to providing senior living solutions primarily within properties that are designed, purpose-built, and operated to provide the highest-quality service, care, and living accommodations for residents. Brookdale operates and manages independent living, assisted living, memory care, and continuing care retirement communities, with 794 communities in 45 states and the ability to serve approximately 75,000 residents as of September 30, 2019. The Company also offers a range of home health, hospice, and outpatient therapy services to over 20,000 patients as of that date. For more Brookdale news, go to


Courtesy photo/Contributed.

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