Quilt offers hope to Judson Manor cook battling cancer

At Judson, we often say “it’s all about Smart Living.”  An important part of this philosophy is cultivating personal connections.  Whether you live here, work here or you’re visiting-at Judson you are family.  We all support one another in good times and bad.  This is what makes us a community.

When Judson Manor cook Jeanelle Hunter was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a year ago, she rarely missed work, except for a stretch of time this past summer.  It wasn’t long before she got calls from residents and staff checking in to see how she was doing.

“There’s a lot of love here,” smiles Jeanelle, who has worked at Judson Manor since 1987. “Plus it was great to know they missed my cooking!”

Recently her supervisor, Corinne Branthoover, Executive Director of Dining Operations at the Manor, surprised Jeanelle with a hope quilt to keep her warm during her bi-weekly cancer treatments at University Hospitals.

“She inspires me,” says Corinne, whose daughter is challenged with a chronic illness. “She’s such a strong person.  We support each other.”

Corinne spent two weeks making the quilt, part of the time at a quilt camp she attends regularly with friends in Michigan.  For Jeanelle’s quilt, she created free motion stitches in the shape of the breast cancer pink ribbon.  There are other inspirational mantras and phrases on the piece like “cancer cannot stifle laughter” and “what cancer cannot do.”

Corinne presented Jeanelle with the quilt just before Thanksgiving.

“I was so surprised,” admits Jeanelle. “She told me she had something for me in her office.  When I saw it, I was floored.”

Both Jeanelle and Corinne are fans of NBC’s “Parenthood” and have been following the storyline of one of the characters who’d recently been diagnosed with cancer.  Ironically, a recent episode had the character’s mother-in-law give her a quilt.  The gesture brought tears to Jeanelle’s eyes.  “I remember thinking ‘I wish somebody would give me a quilt’,” says Jeanelle.

“Now my wish has come true,” she smiles.

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