National Angel Quilt Begins Coast-to-Coast Tour
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Marketplace Mall is the first stop of the summer tour for the National Angel Quilt. Members of the Make Some Noise Foundation, the New Jersey based organization behind the quilt, were busy setting up the exhibit before the mall opened to customers.
It's the work of 14-year-old Malcolm Sutherland-Foggio, who came up with the idea while being treated for cancer.
"I started raising money with wristbands and I raised 13,000 dollars in a few months and I was donating that money to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for cancer research," Malcolm said.
Malcolm has ties to Western New York. His parents are University of Rochester graduates and his grandparents live in Penn Yan. Since he began the foundation in 2009, Malcolm has raised more than $900,000 toward childhood cancer research.
"To think about all the children I've been helping over the past two-and-a-half years and the children I'll be helping in the future years, it's just really heartwarming for me to know that I'm making such an impact," he said.
One hundred and eight children are on display, with another 27 waiting to make up a fifth panel of this quilt. Among them are five children from the Rochester area.
Julianne Miller's patch will be part of that fifth panel. Juliana LaMonica of Honeoye Falls, Lauren Olander of Fairport, and Nicholas Kovaleski from Albion are also among the many children that make up this traveling exhibit.
"It's a little bit emotional to look and think that all these children have died. It's not just your own, you look at everybody else and you just think of the pain that you know the parents are going through and other siblings because that's the same path that we're walking," said Kelly Kovaleski, Nicholas' mother.
Each family designed their loved one's patch. For the Kovaleski family, that was a big part of their healing process.
"Everybody here can see that he was so loved. Our whole town loved him, everybody, because he reached out to everybody that he could," said Michayla Kovaleski, Nicholas' sister.
Willem Bolan of Bloomfield was less than a year old when he died. It was hard for his grandparents, Dave and Joanne Callahan, to hide their emotions when they saw Willem and the other children on the quilt.
"I'm sorry there's so many. I really did not have even an inkling there was so many kids with the same illness that did not make it. I'm very glad that this young man was able to put this together and traveling around to make people aware that these kids need help," said Dave.
The National Angel Quilt will be on display at the center court of Marketplace Mall through Sunday.