Sewing project (July)

This month’s sewing project was inspired by something I received at the Bakersfield Relay for Life that I posted about in May. I was stopped by a few girls handing out small pillows for free to anyone in a survivor T-shirt. Attached to the pillow was a card describing the item as a port site pillow, meant to be used to cushion an implanted device used for chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy port cushion

It was meant to be used while driving so that the seatbelt wouldn’t rub against the port. The card also described the fact that these were made by a Girl Scout named Cassidee Shepherd as part of a Gold Award project. According to a news report from KERO 23 Bakersfield News, she came up with the idea because of friends with cancer who had told her how the seatbelt can irritate the area over the port. She made several hundred of these to give to people fighting cancer, and each comes with instructions on how to make them.

The instructions are very easy to follow and even if you aren’t great at sewing a straight line—which I am not—it comes out looking fine. I didn’t finish the project because I didn’t have everything I needed, but I was mostly just trying things out to see if I could do it. I think it would be great to make several in some fun colors or patterns and give them out to the patients I am implanting chemotherapy ports in.

Make chemotherapy more comfortable

It never really occurred to me that wearing a seatbelt with a chemotherapy port implanted would be uncomfortable, but it makes complete sense. The port pushes out the skin a little, which makes it easy for the nurse to find the device and insert the needle, and we place it just about exactly where a seatbelt would hit (unless it is on the other side, but many times we have to put it on a certain side). It is just one little inconvenient aspect among a large number of greater inconveniences, but helping even one part of it seems like a good thing. I suppose the Girl Scouts also agree with this idea since they did give Cassidee the Gold Award, which is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can receive. I think she really earned it with this inspiring project and I applaud her work. I am glad to share it with you now.


  1. Jennifer says:

    What a great idea, to give your patients pillows that will make their chemotherapy a little more comfortable! You might be able to get help making them, if you contact a local high school, church, or scouting group. Many people would love to make something for others, they just don’t know what to make or how to get it to people who need it. You sound like a doctor who cares, and that’s getting harder and harder to find. Kudos to you!