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Patient helps craft quilt for hospital

La Grange – Sewing has been a big part of Dawn Osborn’s life. And for the past six months, so has Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. The La Grange Highlands resident, a cardiac rehabilitation patient at the hospital, combined those seemingly unrelated matters by helping craft a huge quilt that will be displayed in the hospital’s main corridor for the Thanksgiving season.

Each hospital department was invited to submit a fabric square to be sewn into a single quilt depicting the hospital’s various services. The project was organized by the hospital’s spiritual life committee, a group of employees who advise the pastoral care department on matters related to the spiritual nature of patients and employees.

“We created this quilt to be a visible representation to the community of the various services offered and layers of patient care provided,” said committee member Frieda Bertello, executive assistant to the hospital’s chief executive and chief financial officers.


A professional embroidery artist with a home-based business, Osborn used a computer software program to design the squares. She created squares for five departments: physical therapy, occupational therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary services and administration. She designed her first square for the physical therapy department after being asked to do so by her friend Laura Kelley, the hospital’s manager of inpatient rehabilitation.

“After I did the first square for physical therapy, word spread and others began asking me if I could create their squares,” said Osborn, who had open heart surgery at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital in July and a defibrillator implantation at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital in September. “But it was no trouble because I enjoy doing it and because I haven’t been able to return to work since my surgery, I’ve got extra time on my hands.”


The 64 squares were sewn together into a quilt by Gail Kuzelka, a specialty care technician who has worked at the hospital since 2001. The quilt, which measures 6 feet 8 inches by 8 feet, will be hung Nov. 25.  Kuzelka, who lives in Downers Grove, has been quilting for about three years and this is her biggest project. It became a family project; her mom, Dorothy Kuzelka, laid out the squares to create a pattern and her dad, Howard Kuzelka, stretched the quilt so it could be framed.


“Stitching all these squares together reminded me that although every department is different, they all are interconnected,” Kuzelka said. “Each square is an integral part of Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.”