As part of our “Volunteer Appreciation” blog series, we will be publishing stories and testimonials about our amazing volunteers.
By: Phyllis Rose, Director of Volunteer services of Breast Cancer Resource Centers
Anyone who has had breast or reconstructive surgery knows all too well about the drainage devices stitched to your body with which you leave the hospital. What the heck do you do with these things? Well, volunteers and donors to the rescue! The Crafting Comfort group and Heal in Comfort organization donate hundreds of healing garments to our clients each year for this very purpose. The members of Crafting Comfort make soft, easy-access post-surgical camisoles with pockets sewn into the interior to hold the drain bulbs. Cherie Matthews of Heal in Comfort, designed and manufactures soft, comfortable “healing shirts”, again with pockets in the interior. These crucial items provide practical and comfortable solutions that allow clients to “heal with dignity”.
“Having the soft, comfy camisole and pillow during my recovery made me feel better. Give my thanks to the caring volunteers who made them and tell them they made all the difference in my recovery.” BCRC client
“LOVE the Heal in Comfort shirt my Navigator gave me. Made me feel “less ill” and was a blessing during my recovery” BCRC client
“The lovely camisole I received felt so good and was the perfect solution to contain the “drain garden” sewn into me when I left the hospital. Please express my gratitude to the “seamstress angels” who created it.” BCRC client
Myrle Seely along with The Marble Falls Quilt Club and Myrle’s “pouch stuffing” volunteers, make and donate 1000 “Anti-ouch Pouch” healing pillows per year providing clients support and comfort after surgery, radiation and more. These, along with various other healing items like knitted caps, slumber caps, eye sachets, blankets and pillows – all made with love – are treasured by clients and patients receiving them.
“I still use the “Anti-ouch Pouch” pillows you gave me even though I long ago recovered from my surgeries. They were vital to my recovery and now they’re like old friends – always making me feel better and more comfortable. Please thank the volunteers who made these “pillows of love”. BCRC client
On behalf of the BCRC and our clients receiving these gifts of love, we are forever grateful to the following individuals and groups for their generosity and dedication to providing much needed healing and comfort items: Betty Chow, Mossy Minner and Crafting Comfort group, Cherie Matthews of Heal in Comfort, Lori Wolter of the Stitching Studio, Myrle Seely, Marble Falls Quilt Club, Dorothy Clark, Kathy Wilcox, Linda Gilbertson, Janis Koby, Berta Schneider, Karen Barbe, Sharon Jenson, Peggy Bristow, Linda Crosby, Sue Grove, JoAnne Bryant, Mary Powers, Jolene Burnham, June Wizansky, Londa Chandler, Gloria Pollard, Genie Boyd, Cathy Burke, Duchess Roberts, Bridgette Alexander, Bridgette Stahlman, Camille Cipione, Carla Wilkenfeld, Cathy Shoemaker, Cindy Pike, Lana Johnson, Rene Brown, Rose Ramon-Barrs, Sheree Huntley, Alice Troxel and the Round Rock Quilters, Maddie Connally, Carolyn Stafford, Mary Silva-Click, Mitzvah Knitters, St. David’s Moms Group
Imagine you’ve just been told you have breast cancer, you’re struck with fear, have a million questions and no one to talk to. You call the BCRC Helpline but it is 8pm and they’re closed. What do you do now? That situation is exactly why we have trained volunteers, who are also breast cancer survivors, returning calls after hours, weekends and holidays – so that no one has to be alone in fear or distress. Our Helpline volunteers are that calming voice with an instant connection to someone now facing what they’ve been through before, a voice who can assure the person calling that they’ve reached the right place for help.
“I was upset, found the BCRC card in my tote and left a message (probably unintelligible from blurting out all my fears and questions at once). I was a mess and knew that sleep would be impossible that night. And then my phone rang and the calm voice on the other end said she was a BCRC volunteer and a breast cancer survivor! I don’t remember her name or really what she said, but she listened to me, assured me I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, and that everything would be ok. The next morning you called me and indeed…….everything is ok.” BCRC client
Providing this “calm in the storm” reassurance are the following Helpline volunteers: Kim Murphy, Debbie Moe, Lori Lacy, Ronnie Palmer, Beth Hudson and Nina Stancil. The BCRC is eternally grateful to these caring, understanding women for their devotion to this important program.
If you or someone you know is facing breast cancer and could use our support, please visit our website or call our helpline at 512-524-2560.