The Story of our Project
“It was the day after our operations that the four ladies in our ward received a mastectomy cushion as a gift from a charity. This gift arrived when we were all at our most vulnerable and everyone was overwhelmed that a group of unknown ladies had been kind enough to think about us at a time when we were feeling very low. The cushions were attractive to look at, washable, soft and very comfortable to wear, they were such a help during the healing process. I told my friends and colleagues in the club about the cushion, and they decided unanimously to make these regularly for local breast cancer patients needing a mastectomy in our local hospitals.”
This was the start of our fabulous project involving every member of the club and it has gone from strength to strength.
Pat shops for the material and ribbons and using a template made from Barbara’s cushion cuts them out and distributes to members.
Sandra, Lesley and other members take them away to sew them together.
Members meet in each other’s homes and also make time at club meetings to stuff the cushions with a special stuffing that prevents allergic reactions. The cushions are then finished with a small piece of hand sewing.
We then bag the cushions together with a card containing a message of support explaining how to use the cushion and some information about our club.
We contacted local hospitals Countess of Chester and Runcorn Breast care unit and they have worked with us from the beginning of this project. Member Karen is our contact at the Countess of Chester Hospital she recently received this letter of thanks from Tracy Youde, Associate Practitioner, Breast Care Unit:
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of your members for your continued support, hard work and dedication making these wonderful mastectomy cushions for our ladies. As I have said to Karen numerous times, they are invaluable as they provide a lot of comfort following surgery. I feel that whenever I contact Karen for more, she is very willing and happy to drop them off and I am so grateful to her for this”.
Karen also received these messages of thanks from ladies who have been using our cushions:
“Hi Karen thank you so so very much for the cushion. It has made such a big difference and I am in so much less pain, at night especially”
“I didn’t have a cushion with my first operation. Life is much easier now with the cushion. It’s comfortable on a daily basis and especially so in the car’. The cushion really comforted me during my recovery”
70 Not Out
For the clubs 70th Charter in 2018 we decide to make 70 cushions to celebrate. The project in this year had a cricket theme – ‘Seventy Not Out’ and we were excited and thrilled to have a star of the England Women’s Cricket team spin bowler Sophie Ecclestone to endorse our project.
100 Cushions for 100 Years of Soroptimist
In 2021 we celebrated 100 years of Soroptimist International and what better way to celebrate than with our club standout project for this standout year – 100 cushions for 100 years of Soroptimists.
However, this was a big ask and we needed some assistance so we asked our partners Sew Halton to help us out. Sew Halton is a not for profit social enterprise organisation. “Sew Halton’ enables women, lacking in confidence and with isolation issues to learn sewing skills, the women feel empowered by contributing to this worthwhile project, and gain confidence and social skills.
Anne’s Story – Victoria Begg who runs Sew Halton told us this story of how Anne’s life was changed for the better by working on the cushions:
“Ann gained immensely from making the cushions. She had suffered from domestic abuse for many years, I was the only person to visit Ann dropping cushion fabric to her, we still had COVID restrictions in place meaning Ann could not go out.
Ann told me about the domestic abuse she was suffering from, luckily, I could talk to Ann outside due to restrictions, her husband was in the house shielding. I supported Ann providing various agencies website details, I also phoned Ann on numerous occasions providing support.
Ann left her husband 2 months later and has begun a new life away from Runcorn.
I feel if Ann had not been in involved in the cushion project, I would have been unable to provide support”.
This project, which has made such a difference to hundreds of women has also enthused all our club members – club member Sarah says:
“What struck me was how much the project involves all of us in the club, regardless of sewing skills. There really is a role for everyone, so it is a genuine whole-club project. I think that’s part of what has enabled us to keep it running for so long”.