NONE of us like to think about death and dying, but for a special group of people at the Cairns Hospital, it is part of their daily work.
Mortuary Attendants Kerrie Cameron and Lucille Craig often prepare loved ones, who have died, for their families to view, as part of their regular daily duties.
"We do set up for a lot of viewings here at the Hospital and up until now only had standard Hospital quilts to utilize. We just wanted to be able to present people as nicely as possible for their families." Ms Cameron said.
"No one likes to come down to the Mortuary, but we try and make it as nice an environment for them as we can. We had an idea to improve the appearance of our viewing beds and thought the fantastic craft ladies, who work with the Hospital Foundation, may be interested in our idea." Ms Craig said
So contact was made with the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation volunteer manager Anne Chirio. Ms Chirio in turn asked regular "craft lady" volunteer Betty Rodney if she would like to make some quilts for Mortuary viewings.
Mrs Rodney said she has been making quilts for at least 20 years, including for the past 16 years for the Foundation.
"I was quite honoured actually and I was very surprised by how appreciative the staff were of them. My mother lost several children and I know she would have been proud of me," Mrs Rodney said.
Ms Chirio said the Foundation has a group of wonderful volunteers who make memory blankets for birth suite at Cairns Hospital. "These new bereavement blankets are made on a similar basis as the quilts, but very small so parents can wrap their baby in it after a baby has passed away. Some parents bury their little one in the blanket, others keep it as a keepsake," Ms Chirio said.
"Not everyone felt comfortable with the process of the blankets being used in the mortuary, but I personally felt it was a real honour for the Foundation to be asked if we could help.
"Betty makes the most beautiful children's clothes for our weekly craft stall and when I asked her if she may be interested in helping, I knew I had struck gold," Ms Chirio said.
Photo: Foundation volunteer Betty Rodney is thanked by mortuary attendants Kerrie Cameron and Lucille Craig.
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