Here's the scoop.
Our family knew we had breast cancer in our family because my grandmother had the cancer before I was born. We never discussed it. However, when I was away at college a few years ago, my mother had some discomfort in her breast. It turned out she had breast cancer and needed a mastectomy almost immediately. The process was incredibly difficult for her. Coming back home for just her surgery, I didn't realize the severity of our situation. The struggles leading up to surgery date and everything to adjust to afterwards. We are lucky to have her alive with us today.
Over the next few years two more VERY close ladies in my life needed breast cancer surgery: one needed a lumpectomy as an elderly person and the other a full double mastectomy and reconstruction as prevention from the BRAC1 mutation. At this point I had become aware of this custom pillow for chest surgery and put my sewing skills to use. I developed my own design of this pillow.
Why is this pillow so important? I mean isn't it just a pillow?
On the ride home from the hospital after such a surgery, patients need cushioned support between their chest and the seat belt. Imagine the ride home and every bump causes pain. The seat belt rubbing against your fresh wound areas. This pillow is designed with arm holes for easy travel. It is useful for follow up appointments and just to get around town to get back to normal for weeks post op. Without such a pillow, chest surgery related patients are extremely uncomfortable and also physically at risk: by disturbing their incisions from bumps and seatbelts or from not wearing their seatbelt properly off their chest and risking the consequences in an accident or from breaking the law.
October is Breast Cancer awareness month. My calling is to supply as many people as possible with this item to help them be safe, comfortable and feel as supported as possible during this time. This is such an emotionally and mentally draining surgery for women. We identify so much with our breasts whether we realize it or not. The women affected by this disease don't need an extra worry.
How will my donation be used?
The funds raised here with go directly to production of the pillows.
Each pillow costs $25 to create, ethically. All production will be staffed by individual designers and seamstresses in the LA area. This means that your donation will help a breast cancer patient AND a local artisan.
Each pillow is made from as many sustainable products as possible including sustainable fabrics or salvaging fabrics otherwise to be thrown away by larger companies. Your donation will go towards producing products that help heal the Earth as well.
How urgent is the need for these pillows?
The time is now. I have come across more people at this very moment of typing that are healing from this surgery who, like my mom, have no idea about such an item. 1/8 women are affected by breast cancer. In 3 years, 3 of my closest women were forced to have this surgery. We need to get these pillows in their hands ...like...now.
How else can I help?
If you can't donate funds, no worries. There are many things you can do.
1) Especially if you are a woman, check yourself and get screened. (dhs.lacounty.gov search- cancer screening)
2) Spread the awareness through personal conversations or posts online. Encourage those around you to get checked regularly.
3) Check out my tutorials on how you can make such a pillow yourself. Find them on youtube "Stay Light with Liz". Give this to someone who needs it or contact me and I'll add your pillow creation to the campaign.
4) Donate supplies like fabric, 18"+ zippers or pillow stuffing.