Seated at her craft table in her Creswell home, Debbie Luttrell labors over the beadwork in front of her. At one time, her crafting was constructing necklaces and headdresses. But these days, her focus is on creating angels. It’s a project of love that began after Debbie faced one of the darkest days of her life.
“April 26, 2015. I remember that day,” Debbie says solomly. “That was a tough day.”
That was the day Debbie’s husband took her to the emergency room after an excruciating backache became too much to bear. Doctors discovered that Debbie had multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that develops in bone marrow.
“My back had literally been crushed; my spine had crushed down on itself. I’m now two inches shorter than I was—and I was already too short,” she says, her good-natured personality surfacing with a gentle laugh.
Debbie spent 10 days in the hospital, which was followed by seven months of chemotherapy at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. She then traveled to Portland to receive a stem cell transplant.
“The angels first came into the story when my husband decided I was not going to Portland without an angel of some kind. He wanted me to have a guardian angel to hold onto as I prepared for my transplant.”
He scoured the internet looking for just the right one and, Debbie says, having that angel close comforted her.
“I knew that as long as I had that angel with me, I could handle anything. I knew it wasn’t going to save me, but I truly felt that as long as she was there with me, then it was going to be OK,” Debbie says.
Debbie’s treatment was successful and her cancer is now in remission, but she knows other cancer patients may not be as fortunate. It is why she now focuses her attention on creating intricate angels, from their wings to their halos, using colorful beads and charms. She then donates them WVCI to distribute to patients as a token of support.
“As I make them, I say a prayer over every one of them. So, each person who gets one of my angels has a prayer that goes with it.”
Attached to the angel is a card that reads: “I’ve been sent to look after you. Please always keep me near. I will care and comfort you, so let your worries disappear.”
“The people who are receiving these angels don’t know me.” Debbie says. “What’s important is that they know that someone cared enough to give this to them. I think about how my angels have comforted me through cancer, and I’m hoping these will provide comfort and hope to others.”
Debbie has been donating her angels to cancer patients for about four months, and it’s a labor of love that she plans to continue. To help cover the cost of her supplies, she recently began selling her angels to the public for $10 each. If you’d like to help support her project, you can purchase an angel by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.