Pittsburg State University student and senior in social work Sam Scott is collecting monetary donations to purchase the materials needed to make mastectomy pillows for patients at Mercy and Freeman hospitals in Joplin.
A mastectomy is a surgery, typically a treatment for breast cancer, where one or both breasts are partially or completely removed. To help with comfort after having a mastectomy, Mercy and Freeman hospitals give out pillows to every breast cancer patient.
“I decided to make the pillows because my best friend, Brie, her mom, Cheryle, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019,” Scott said. “When she was getting ready to have her mastectomy, Brie asked me to help make her mom a pillow because she had read online that it made uncomfortable situations more comfortable. Now Cheryle is cancer free. I chose to donate to two hospitals in Joplin because they see a lot of breast cancer patients. Both Mercy and Freeman give breast cancer patients pillows.”
Due to her personal connection with a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer and afterwards helping make a mastectomy pillow for her, handmaking and donating mastectomy pillows is important to Scott.
“After having a mastectomy, simple things like riding in a car or sleeping is extremely uncomfortable,” Scott said. “So, having a pillow just gives more comfort. This is important to me because Cheryle is like my second mom. In situations where someone you loved is diagnosed with breast cancer, there is not much you can do except be there for them. A pillow is a simple gesture that lets women know that someone is thinking of them.”
Scott wants to be able to provide as many pillows to women at Mercy and Freeman hospital as possible so that these women have one less thing to worry about. But to do so she is relying on donations to be able to purchase the materials. Scott already met her initial goal and has set a larger goal.
“My goal was to raise $500,” Scott said. “However, I have raised $575 so far. I have 40 pillows made and 30 that are in the process of being made.”
All senior social work students are required to do a senior project. Scott chose to handmake mastectomy pillows for the patients at Mercy and Freeman hospitals for her project.
“I have been thinking about this for a while,” Scott said. “I knew I would have to do a senior project and I wanted to do something that was personal to me.”