Catholic Health and Sisters of Charity Hospital recognized the work of the Pink Pillow Project and the Twin City Quilters Guild Friday. The groups are responsible for making mastectomy pillows to give to Breast Cancer patients across western New York.
Director of Sisters Cancer Program Dr. Ronald Bauer says the hospital has been offering the pillows to patients for several years.
“We’ve been providing these pillows and they look for it for comfort and support. In some ways it’s even therapeutic. They place it under their arm and it helps after the surgery because some women get swelling there. Some women have numbness and it just helps relieve a lot of the symptoms that go along with breast surgery," said Bauer.
"Some women will just use it as a prop, as well, so they don’t roll over on their fresh incision. I think it’s a wonderful thing that these volunteers do and I think it’s a wonderful service that Sisters has here.”
The Pink Pillow Project is a newly created charity in Buffalo. It has distributed nearly 500 microbead pillows to women across the region. Nancy Kielar and Lisa Smith created the non-profit after Kielar’s own battle with Breast Cancer.
“I had figured out early on that not every pillow works for every person. I had some where I felt like Goldilocks, some were too hard for me and some were too soft for me. So, I found a pillow that was around the pillow that was around the house that was a microbead filled pillow that just worked perfectly. It conformed to every shaped I needed it," said Kielar.
"I started to purchase these and give it away to family and friends that were having this surgery. Then Lisa suggested that it would be a good idea to do this on a larger scale and the Pink Pillow Project was born.”
The Twin City Quilters, based in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda, have donated more than 4,000 handmade “pink ribbon” pillows to healthcare organizations in Erie and Niagara Counties. They make hats for patients undergoing chemotherapy, as well.
The project is headed by Patty Kuriscak and Linda Goodine, who are also breast cancer survivors.
“It’s such a blessing to be able to help other people. It’s such a loving, warm thing. We receive such beautiful notes back and they’re filled with love and thankfulness. So, it’s just a blessing to help,” said Goodine.
Sisters of Charity Hospital is the leading provider for Breast Cancer care in the city of Buffalo, performing more than 1,000 breast surgeries each year.