Students Sew Port Pillows for Patients

Project allows students to ‘do something for someone else’
Teacher Nancy Jansen shows Omar Ramos some of the port pillows her students made.

Middle school students in Nancy Jansen’s sewing class this year learned how to sew — and to do something for others.

Jansen teaches a class for beginning sewers at Thompson Junior High in Oswego. Family Consumer Science is a one-semester elective, and many of her students — boys and girls in grades 7 and 8 — had never sewn before. After becoming familiar with the sewing machine, their first project was to make drawstring bags for themselves. Then, they made port pillows for people with cancer.

All in all, they made 380 port pillows and donated them to Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center. 

“The project gives the kids a chance to do something for someone else,” Jansen says. Many of the students jumped at the chance. 

Each student was required to make one pillow. 

“Then,” Jansen says, “they made as many as they wanted to.” Some made two or three; others made 15 to 20, she estimates. 

The pillows that “ease the ouch” can be strapped to a seat belt to make it more comfortable for patients who have ports —devices implanted under the skin that deliver medication into the bloodstream. The pillows are given to Waterford Place participants who want them. Waterford Place ambassadors also give them to patients at RUSH Copley’s Cancer Care Center.

“I am really thrilled,” said Omar Ramos, Waterford Place program development and operations manager, when Jansen delivered the ports. “We’re stocked up for the rest of the year.” 

In addition to the pillows, Jansen’s class donated three fleece blankets to the center. The blankets were made by students with autism.

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