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Heart Pillow Project

volunteers with heart-shaped pillows

The Heart Pillow Project is designed to bring comfort to breast cancer patients. It’s a story about the journey of breast cancer patients and a network that crosses many boundaries and settings.

The origin of the heart pillow is unknown, but the project started when Janet Kramer-Mai, an oncology nurse at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Three of her aunts made and sent her a heart-shaped pillow to use after her surgery. The pillow, which fits comfortably under the arm, can relieve pain from the surgical incision, protect against accidental bumps, help ease edema and relieve shoulder tension. The heart pillows are given to patients immediately post-op to aid in recuperation.

There are many benefits to the heart pillow. It gives the opportunity to help breast cancer patients in a concrete and immediate way. With this gift, patients know they aren’t alone and others are thinking of their needs, even if they don’t know them personally.

Martha Gudina, one of Sibley’s OR nurses, went to an international conference and was inspired by this project and asked if our volunteers would like to participate. Of course, they said yes!

How to Participate

There are many ways to participate in this project. You can sew the pillows and/or fund donations of material and stuffing. We hope that you will join our efforts for the Heart Pillow Project. Please contact Marianne Monek at [email protected], or call 202-537-4486 if you have any questions or would like to help.

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