Cancer survivor helps raise funds with her apron-making skills

Roberta Rector models one of her cancer-fighting aprons, with more aprons laid out on a sofa in the lobby of the LaFontaine Center.
Roberta Rector models one of her cancer-fighting aprons, with more aprons laid out on a sofa in the lobby of the LaFontaine Center. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published May 1, 2017.

It all started eight years ago when Roberta Rector received a cancer diagnosis.

Now, Rector is turning out aprons by the dozen in an effort to keep others from going through what she went through.

“I’m a survivor,” she says. “I’m just making aprons to try and help get rid of the disease.”

Rector churns out the aprons from her apartment at the LaFontaine Center, in Huntington. The cost of the fabric and thread comes out of her own pocket — although she won’t turn down donations of supplies — and all of the profits go to her Relay for Life team, “Courage,” at the Eagles Lodge.

Rector started sewing aprons a couple of months ago and, so far, has made almost $250 for her team.

She’s gotten some special orders from friends at the Eagles and has had some individual buyers. She might make them available at the LaFontaine Center, she says, “if I get enough made up.”

Rector made up her own pattern for the aprons, which she makes in both full coverage and half-aprons, drawing on her experience with the craft.

“I’ve been sewing all my life,” she says, starting when she was a student at Elmhurst High School, in Fort Wayne.

“We had home ec in high school and I just picked it up as a thing to do,” she says.

Rector embellishes her aprons with a pocket, which she originally intended to be applied parallel with the bottom hem. But an oversight on her part resulted in one of the pockets being sewn on at an angle, and that has now become a feature of some of the aprons.

“I made a mistake and I put a pocket on wrong, and everybody liked it,” she says.

It’s easier to slide a hand into an angled pocket, she explains.

This is the second year Rector has been involved with Relay for Life. She’s been cancer-free since having surgery after her diagnosis.

“They got it all when they found it,” she says, making any follow-up chemotherapy or radiation treatment unnecessary.

She’s been joined in her cancer-fighting efforts by a friend through the Eagles Lodge, Imogene Johnson, who’s taking orders for homemade sugar cream pies to benefit the Relay for Life team.

Inquiries about the aprons may be made at the LaFontaine Center, and information about the pies is available at the Eagles Lodge.

The Huntington County Relay for Life will be held on June 10 from noon to midnight at Kriegbaum Field. For information, contact Mark or Vickie Kiefer, event leads, at 356-0219.