Church Donates 700 Heart Pillows
“They are incredible”
More than 700 colourful heart-shaped pillows for mastectomy patients have been made and presented with love to Whangaparaoa’s Gerti Weber, who started New Zealand’s Heart Pillow Project earlier this year. Gerti received the pillows on Sunday at a special function for Relief Society.
The small heart-shaped pillows are designed to be used under the arm of patients recovering from surgery such as mastectomy. They help to reduce swelling, pain and shoulder tension, and provide support and comfort during what can be for many a difficult time. Gerti gives the pillows to hospitals and hospices, where many, not just mastectomy patients, have appreciated the support afforded by the cushions.
The LDS women’s involvement in the project started when Evelyn Martin, a member of the Harbour Stake Relief Society presidency, was searching for a service project that women from the church could do for the community. Evelyn saw an article about the pillow project in the local newspaper, and found out that Gerti hoped to have 1000 cushions made by the end of the year. So Evelyn and her fellow presidency members, Andrea Bennallack and Charlene Sheward, contacted Gerti to see how church members could help.
As a result, women from the Church’s ten North Shore and Rodney wards and branches held activities to cut out and sew the heart pillows to the specified design. Members of the church donated the fabrics.
Gerti prefers to fill the pillows and to hand sew the openings herself, as she now knows just how much filling is needed for comfort. “My main thing is that I want people to be happy with their pillows,” she says. “They have to be comfortable.” Gerti writes a little note to go with every cushion.
She says: “I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped with these cushions.”
Although she has received pillows from all over New Zealand, Gerti is grateful to the Harbour Stake’s Relief Society sisters for their work. “They are incredible,” she says. And now, instead of the hoped-for 1000 pillows, it looks like Gerti will have 2000 by Christmas.