Church News and Events

Pillowcase project to brighten hospital stay

  Caroline McIlwaine

  • 8 November 2012

At left, R.S. president Lisa Chalmers with counsellors (2nd left) Aesuk Kim and (4th from left) Tracey Hutchings, hand over 128 colourful pillowcases to Pillowcases for Oncology Kids S.A. coordinator Teresa Lane (centre), and Denise Ellis, manager-family service, Childhood Cancer Association.  Image courtesy of Gordon Thackray and used with permission

It was a case of many hands make bright work when members of Adelaide’s Prospect ward sewed 128 colourful pillowcases for the Pillowcases for Oncology Kids (POK) charity.

Media coverage of the POK initiative – designed to brighten hospital stays for childhood-cancer sufferers – caught the interest of Prospect Ward’s relief society president, Lisa Chalmers, and her counsellors Aesuk Kim and Tracey Hutchings.

Lisa said they knew the RS sisters would love to get involved but soon found that young children and teenagers, and even Bishop Herb Pressler, wanted to join in.

“We all recognised how overwhelming it must be for young children when they have to go into hospital, and cancer can mean a long time away from home or frequent visits,” Lisa explained.

“So many people were keen to help either by donating fabric or sewing – we all felt that getting a brand new, bright cheery pillowcase to keep as your own would put smiles in children's lives, and that it was a great project to support.”

The POK initiative is supported in S.A. by the Childhood Cancer Association whose counsellors provide direct support to children with cancer, and their families, through a hospital visitation program.

According to the association’s family service manager, Denise Ellis, community support made all the difference. “Without generous support from groups such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Prospect we could not run this project for children with cancer and their siblings, here in South Australia,” Ms Ellis said. “Their contribution of beautifully-handmade pillowcases is our largest donation to date.”

 The initiative began with 15-year-old Brittany Booth in N.S.W., after her own experience with cancer as a young child. Brittany wanted to ensure all kids with cancer have a special pillowcase that they choose to help brighten up their room while staying in hospital.

It’s very important with so many visits required during any childhood cancer journey that each child has something positive to associate with going to hospital.