Many of you already know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many of you also already know someone who has fought or is currently fighting breast cancer. For our October Sew Goodness spotlight I want to share a couple of simple service ideas to bring comfort by sewing for breast cancer patients who are in that fight.
First of all, if you are over 40, get a mammogram. I have multiple friends my age (mid 40’s) diagnosed recently and found the cancer because they got a mammogram. And because they did they’re still here, being moms to their kids and living busy lives, because they caught the cancer early. I know that’s not the case for everyone, but early detection does make a difference. I’m grateful to those women who have inspired me to make mammograms a yearly habit.
I know they’re not the funnest thing you’ve ever done. But we’re big girls and it’s totally worth the peace of mind to just do it. TOTALLY.
This year’s mammogram experience gave me knew appreciation and a sliver of a taste for what a diagnosis might be like. I went for my yearly mammogram last spring and got a call back later that day, that they’d seen something suspicious and wanted me to come back for more a closer ultrasound in 2 weeks.
Those 2 weeks were torturous. Luckily the second ultrasound didn’t show anything and I was given a clean bill of health. But the worry and stress of those 2 weeks gave me new understanding and empathy – in the smallest of ways – for anyone who has received a diagnosis of cancer.
3 years ago my friend Sachiko was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sachiko has shared her breast cancer journey on her blog Tea Rose Home. Watching her go through this experience was another rude reminder that this disease is relentless. Sachiko’s attitude in this set back has been inspiring. And she has shared a simple way that you can help women with breast cancer – particularly those who must undergo a mastectomy.
These simple heart shaped pillows are made to fit under the armpit to provide relief while healing after a mastectomy. Sachiko received one from her oncologist’s office and decided to make more to donate in return. She has shared a simple pattern to make them. You can donate them locally to an oncologist’s office near you. Or ask a friend who has battled for other local resources that provide comfort to women with breast cancer.
Riley Blake has also put together a video tutorial for making these post-breast-cancer-surgery pillows using Sachiko’s pattern.
Riley Blake Designs has a current fabric collection called Hope in Bloom and will donate proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Another friend to go through this journey is Andy Knowlton of A Bright Corner.
Andy shares more about her experience with Breast Cancer as well as this sweet Heartstrings Quilt Block Tutorial.
By Annie has a free pattern for this Bosom Buddy seat belt cover which spreads out the seatbelt pressure across the chest or abdomen while recovering from any surgery.
Melissa from Melly Sews has another meaningful way to help someone recovering from a mastectomy (or any other abdominal surgery). On her blog she shares a pattern and a video tutorial for a post-mastectomy camisole. These are made specifically to avoid having to raise your arms to put on as well as accommodate post-surgery drains.
These too can be donated locally – or chances are you know someone affected with breast cancer and they will gladly point you in the direction of an oncologist’s office or Breast Cancer Research Center who can put them in the hands of someone who will not only be grateful for the useful item, but also for the thoughtful person who took the time to hand make something to provide comfort and love.
Know of other causes looking for contributions to aid those fighting breast cancer? Please share them in the comments!
Looking for other causes you can help sew for? You can find a list of causes in need on the Sew Goodness page.