Hope and gratitude are often woven into the fabric of life. After Pam Lindquist tackled cancer head on, she created a meaningful quilt for the doctor who saved her life. Meanwhile, her son, Richard, made a gift to support cancer research to help other women live healthier lives.
Richard (Rick) Lindquist, a board member of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, will always remember the 6 p.m. phone call he got from his parents on Feb. 20, 2017. It wasn’t unusual for his parents to call in the evening from their home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. But when they conferenced in his sister, who lives about 30 miles away, he knew something was wrong.
“They told me my mother had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of endometrial cancer,” Rick says. “My dad was scared, my sister was crying, my mom was planning her funeral in her head. But my approach was ‘I need to fix this.’”
So he jumped into action to get her seen by David Mutch, MD, a leading gynecologic oncology surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Mutch examined her the next week, ordered more tests and scheduled surgery within a few days at Siteman.
“It was all very comforting to my mother and spectacular on the part of the hospital,” he says.
His mother’s diagnosis marked the first time in many years that anyone in Rick’s family had been touched by cancer. Because of this, Rick, a loyal donor to BJC Hospice and Evelyn’s House, expanded his giving to include cancer research through the Foundation’s Illumination Gala. The gala supports breakthrough research at Siteman.
Rick’s parents, Pam and Chuck Lindquist, were able to attend the gala in 2017 with Rick, as they had moved in with him during the nearly five months of Pam’s recovery, chemotherapy and radiation.
“Having never been personally touched by cancer, my philanthropy dollars have generally gone elsewhere,” Rick says. “But as I sat there at Illumination looking across the table at my mother in her wig on the verge of winning her battle, raising my paddle to support the Cancer Frontier Fund was a no-brainer.”
During Pam’s treatment, the family learned they had a lot in common with Dr. Mutch, including a great love of football.
The only problem is that the Lindquists are passionate about the Minnesota Vikings while Dr. Mutch is a fan of the rival Green Bay Packers. This provided fodder for many jokes in the months ahead.
“I told him ‘I’m glad we found this out afterward or we might not have selected you as Mom’s surgeon,’” Rick says.
After Pam finished her treatments and was cancer-free, she returned home with a mission. She planned to make a very special football quilt for Dr. Mutch.
Using her quilting room, which had been Rick’s childhood bedroom, Pam spent more than 20 hours creating a football quilt made from a material that mimicked pigskin. And in honor of Dr. Mutch, she stitched a Packers border.
“My cancer diagnosis was devastating, yet from my first appointment Dr. Mutch gave us hope,” Pam says. “He guided me through the difficult months of treatment and was available to answer questions and to calm my fears. Our family will always be grateful to him and hope the quilt will be lasting reminder of our gratitude. Too bad he is a Packers Fan!”