‘Half a world away:’ Quilt for Humboldt Broncos crash victims coming from Qatar

It’s 11,097 kilometres from Doha, Qatar, to Humboldt, Sask., but the fatal crash involving a bus carrying junior hockey players hit close to home for Dale Gilbert and her husband Scott.

“It brought back so many memories of the times my husband and I had transported our own children to events, put them on a bus, in other cars or on trains and airplanes,” said Gilbert, a Canadian who has lived in Qatar since 2005 with her husband, who teaches at the School of Informational Technology with the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar Campus.

“I just can’t get all those affected by the tragedy out of my mind.”

The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game on April 6 when their bus and a semi collided at an intersection in the country near Tisdale, Sask., killing 16 people and injuring 13 others.

“When something like this happens back home, you really realize just how far from home you are. My mind kept thinking, ‘What can I do in any small way to help?’” Gilbert, a retired school administrator, said in an email.

“Then I saw a message on the Canadian Quilters Association Facebook page about the Quilts for Humboldt and I knew this was what I could do from here.”

An organizer in Humboldt was hoping to get 29 quilts for the 29 people who were on the bus.

Once word got out, in sewing circles and through social media, the idea took off. More than 600 quilts have been collected and will be distributed to family members, billet families, medical personnel and other first responders.

Now another one is on its way from Qatar. The Qatar Quilt Guild had 34 members last year representing Canada, United States, Qatar, Egypt, England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Spain and India.

“People were shocked of the news of the crash and we had a number of members who were able to assist,” said Gilbert. “It’s our little response to the tragedy half a world away.”

The Doha quilt follows the block design and dimensions provided by Quilts for Humboldt. It’s made up of the Broncos team colours of green, black, yellow and white.

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