Vanderbilt Sewing Club donates items to breast cancer patients in need

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If you can sew, you can bring comfort to a woman fighting breast cancer.

Four years ago, a group of ladies former the Vanderbilt Sewing Club. The volunteers have already made thousands of comfort items that help ease the pain of recovery.

The patients identify a need, and the sewing volunteers design a solution, make a pattern, then create the item.

(Photo: WKRN)

You don’t expect to hear the hum of sewing machines at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, but tucked away in a room on the 100 Oaks Campus, sewing machines rule the third Monday of every month.

“I’ve always done it as long as I can remember,” said Suzie Burger, a member of the sewing club.

“And I love every minute of it,” added Jayne Harris.

But it’s more than just the love of sewing that brings these women together.

“These are caps for patients who have lost their hair due to chemo or other medications,” said Mary Elliott, showing News 2 some of the knitting.

“No, I don’t know them, but I am a breast cancer survivor, and I like to think of me giving back to people who helped me up,” Harris said.

“My niece at 34 years of age had breast cancer. It’s really hard going through something like that,” stated Rita Johnson.

(Photo: WKRN)

The items sewn with care and love are custom made for breast cancer patients, all specially-designed to support women who are in the fight of their lives.

Today’s assignment is prayer blankets.

“Basically we cut a piece of material and finish the edges,” Janet Pess told News 2.

“It is for the patients that are critically ill and, unfortunately, they may or may not survive. They have a need of staying warm in their wheel chairs and this is just a simple little lap blanket that we make to give them some comfort,” explained Elliott.

In this club, necessity is often the mother of invention, like a belt to hold drainage tubes and pouches following a mastectomy.

(Photo: WKRN)

“If they don’t have something like this, the draining tubes and bulbs just hang and are very uncomfortable. So we were asked to come up with a solution. This is a belt that fastens around the waist with pockets to hold the tubing or the pouch,” Elliott told News 2.

The walker caddies are to help patients hold personal items, seatbelt pillows are to protect infusion ports, and heart pillows hold ice packs.

“I think it tells the patient that somebody cares and that we take our time to try to help them in some small way,” said Elliott.

“I brought back 30 blankets this week and six caps. So it makes me feel good, warm and fuzzy, and I’m proud to do it,” Harris told News 2.

The items are donated to each patient. The club is a non-profit and accepts donations of both money and fabric. Last year, they donated 1,100 items.

Click here for more of Anne Holt’s Tennessee stories.