Survivor Gayle Bloom: Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilt
Gayle Bloom is my latest survivor guest on DJ Breast Cancer. Gayle is a 15 year breast cancer survivor, a retired high school teacher, and devoted to her family! Gayle is a testament to being your own advocate and pushing for more answers.
Gayle and I talk about finding your purpose, giving back to others and the amazing sisterhood of survivor. All of the amazing survivors has met along the way is truly the silver lining to her cancer journey. Gayle expresses how cancer gave her access to so many amazing women she would not have normally met. Being a survivor herself gave her access that only another survivor can understand.
This beautiful and lucky quilt was hand crafted by Gayle’s co-workers and fellow staff at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne IN. They worked after school to create this beautiful quilt for her to take to chemo. The center is modeled after the Angel Oak tree in South Carolina, a testament to longevity, beauty and deep roots. The leaves surrounding are filled with inspirational and personal messages designed to get her through the journey. After treatment, Gayle wanted to pay it forward and has found other survivors to share this quilt with. It has helped and loved 21 other survivors in the fifteen years after Gayle’s journey.
Gayle talks about a precious moment in teaching and cancer when all of her students in her literature class brought her purple flowers and came to her house to discuss the theme of The Color Purple. Life is full of suffering, however seeing the beauty in nature is truly a gift.
Gayle talks about focusing on keeping her lives and her grown childrens’ lives normal as much as possible during her cancer journey. The birth of her first grandchild gave her focus and determination to get back on her feet. Now, fifteen years later and five total grandchildren, she is retired from teaching but Gayle and her daughter are actively involved in Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.