Wauchope Patchwork Quilters have presented the Palliative Care Unit at Wauchope District Memorial Hospital with 30 quilts donated from all over Australia.
The gift of material, quilts, and even a cash donation from the Carpetbaggers floor covering retailers on the Mid North Coast, means palliative care patients will continue to receive the handmade quilts, as has been the case for the past five years, despite a devastating theft in September.
The group's president, Helen Clunas, said members were heartbroken after thieves stole 15 quilts, a sewing machine, laminator, lamp and money box from the group's room in Rotary Youth Hall.
However, the community's response has restored the quilters' faith in humanity with offers of help coming in from throughout Australia after the theft was posted on social media and shared more than 7000 times around the world.
"The response has been amazing," Mrs Clunas said. "It has certainly restored our spirit and belief in the kindness of people.
"We had offers of help from people interstate who previously had family members in the Palliative Care Unit at Wauchope.
"A group of quilters from Forster sent 20 quilts plus quilt tops and fabric, we had donations from Southern Highland quilters, a fabric store in Nerang and quilters from Molong, Lorne and Empire Bay sent material, quilters in Canberra, Queens Lake, South West Rocks, Burwood and Murrumbeena in Victoria, Loftus and the Illawarra have sent quilts, Dolphin Quilters at Old Bar donated quilt tops, local people have donated fabric and cash and a quilter travelled from Sydney to donate quilts, fabric and kits.
"These quilts are beautiful works of art, and are often accompanied by a personal message about the donor's nan or pop being in palliative care, or about how the wonderful staff in the Palliative Care Unit at Wauchope have touched someone's life.
"We can't thank people enough for responding the way they have. It's certainly been an uplifting experience."
Palliative Care Nurse Unit Manager Mary Trotter was also amazed at the response.
"We really appreciate the support of the quilters, over many years now, as the quilts are so personal and beautiful. It's a gift that means a lot to our seriously ill patients and their families, so to have that gift look to be in doubt this year because of the theft was just heartbreaking.
"I don't think any of us thought there would be an upside to this, and yet here it is... quilts for our patients and keepsakes for their families.
"It's a beautiful donation that means the world to some very special people."