A dozen women gathered last week to make a difference with simple needle and thread.
During Open Sew Days at the LaRue County Extension Service office last Monday, women of various ages and from different walks of life came together to take part in a project that would benefit women undergoing cancer treatment. These volunteers used brightly colored fabrics to make comfort caps and heart-shaped pillows.
Comfort caps are scarf-like headpieces that are given to women who may suffer from hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. Heart-shaped pillows are given to patients who are undergoing back surgery or treatment for breast cancer. The pillows ease pain from surgical incisions and may reduce lymph swelling under the arm.
Master Clothing Volunteer Rosa Smith is the director of the monthly Open Sew Days. Smith is a master volunteer for the University of Kentucky and teaches sewing classes at the Extension Office as part of an effort to revive the sewing arts in Kentucky. Smith said she likes to incorporate some type of service to the community into her classes.
“I give back through volunteering and I want others to experience the joy of volunteering, too.”
When Smith heard that Hardin Memorial Hospital was in need of comfort caps and heart-shaped pillows, she jumped on the opportunity and began to integrate the need into her classes.
Volunteers began making the items in April. The first month, the group made 13 caps. Last week, the 12 volunteers more than doubled the original amount, making about 35 caps.
Smith said that anyone interested can volunteer and that sewing skills are not necessary. In fact, a local Girl Scouts troop has recently gotten involved in the project. Newly sewn heart-shaped pillows are sent to girls in Troop 1143. The troop, which is led by Sam Hardesty, then stuffs the pillows.
When finished, caps and pillows are sent to Cora Ellen Hall, program care coordinator at Hardin Memorial Hospital. Hall organizes the “Look Good, Feel Better” program for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
This program, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society brings in certified cosmetologists who teach patients about hair, nail and skin care. Hall said that the comfort caps are a major part in the program. She said that when women undergo chemotherapy, losing hair is a real concern, and that these caps make this part of the process a little easier.
“We just want to provide some things that make this process as livable as possible,” said Hall. “Rosa and her group have done a great job providing ... exactly what we need.”
Smith said she plans to continue to use the Open Sew Days for the needed items, and wants to thank all volunteers who have “come and supported this outreach” thus far. During July and August, she will focus on accessories for the caps. In September and October, the group will make winter caps.
Open Sew Days are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month. Lunch is provided by Papa John’s Pizza. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Smith at 358-9049.