A Few Thoughts on the Bottles of Hope Project

collected by Tracy Van Buskirk

"I was part of the "Casting for Recovery" flyfishing retreat recently held in Orkney Springs, Virginia. Your polymer clay group was meeting there at the same time. At some point, the connection was made between what you are trying to share with your Bottles of Hope and what we were doing there as part of 'Casting for Recovery'. Not long after that, all of us survivors were choosing our own bottle. Thanks very much. I am a three time breast cancer survivor and have learned a lot about healing. I do know that every act of kindness reshapes and transforms the world." -Arlington, Virginia .

"I have been making a lot of bottles-I have given away many to people I know who are battling cancer or who are survivors. I sent one to one of the women from my high school reunion. She wrote back that it was the nicest gift she's ever received." -New Haven, CT .......

"I lost my mother to cancer in 1978 when she was only 48. I know something like this would have been very special to her, so I'm doing this for all patients in memory of her." -San Diego, CA

"When you do something out of love, it can't help but be special, and this is a labor of love." -San Diego, CA

"I asked for the head nurse. I showed her my bottles and asked if they would be interested. The nurses were all oohing and aahing and saying which bottle would fit which patient. One asked why I would do this. I said I had been diagnosed with cervical cancer last year and breast cancer in 1993. Anyway, I managed to get 50 of them finished, then had a lot of illness, two operations and finally a stroke. I am back on the right track again and just about ready to finish some more bottles." -Cheyenne, WY "

I happened to read about the Bottles of Hope on the Internet. At the same time, my husband was getting chemo for Hodgkins disease. The first nurse I approached with the idea of Bottles of Hope was very negative and disinterested. My Internet friends encouraged me to ignore her and talk to another staff member. I did and this lady loved the idea and started taking the BOH and giving them to radiation patients. She tells me that they all love the bottles. I have made and donated more than 200 Bottles of Hope." -Bonne Terre, Missouri

"I just got back from the support group meeting at the hospital. There were 18 people, a good turnout and they seemed to get a kick out of the bottles and the demo I did. I've got some new people to put in my prayers tonight. I'm glad I did this, though if anyone else wants to do a support group they should know how emotionally involving it is. The coordinator of the support group had a special request for a bottle for a three year old who has just been diagnosed with leukemia. Luckily, there was one of those little guys with the big gnome hats in our box." -Ansonia, CT

"Last week was the San Diego Clay Guild's three day clay retreat. We had a contest and came up with 110 fantastic bottles. Marie had a terrible time judging the contest and she was in a flood of tears because she was so proud of the guild members for all their work." -San Diego, CA

"I gave one bottle to the woman who sat next to me during my chemo and the smile of appreciation and gratitude for the thought and her amazement at the beadwork made the whole bit of effort more than worthwhile. How thrilled I am to fine that others SMILE when they see them. I am at the end of the road with just 20 or so more radiation treatments to go." -Illinois

"I've been helping with making the Bottles of Hope for two years. For the past year, I have been coordinating the national effort. But it all came home to me when my mom's lung cancer, which she had been living with for five years, spread to her brain and I realized that her time was short. I asked my guild to make her some bottles with a gardening theme, her true love. The bottles were beautiful and sat on her bedside table all through operations, chemo, and finally hospice. I miss Mom every day but I do have a few lovely bottles that she and I enjoyed together." -Newtown, CT

"I think it's a great idea. Lots of these types of projects feel forced somehow, but this one strikes a chord with me as being right." -West Chester, OH

"I am a cancer survivor and another of our guild members is currently being treated. We all are grateful for the opportunity to encourage those who need it with these beautiful little miniature bottles." -Summerfield, Florida

"Judy, who delivers the bottles, told us at the last meeting that some of the patients had almost argued over the selections. It seems that two of the guys wanted the same bottle! But it turned out well and the counselor opened the session with discussion as to why the individuals had selected particular bottles. One was a little yellow dog with black spots that I had made. The patient said it reminded him of a dog he had owned as a child." -Houston, Texas

"It is my personal belief that the act of making something with the hope that it lifts someone up, if only for a short time, is uplifting for us the makers as well. I know when I'm working on a bottle, I'm hoping that my prayers and good wishes are centered in that tiny bottle." -Houston, Texas

"I learned earlier this evening that my friend Jennifer is in the hospital. She was a cheerleader for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer because she had been diagnosed two years earlier with breast cancer. In November of last year, her cancer metastisized. Today she had a seizure at work and was rushed to the hospital. I know she would love a Bottle of Hope. I'd give her mine but I need it now more than ever. If you could send me one, I would be very grateful." -Alexandria, Virginia


(more Comments from givers and receivers at the top of the BOH page: http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/BOH.htm)