Giant Sew-In, AGL & Comfort Care Packs for Breast Cancer

On Wednesday 26 June, in an unassuming church hall in Kotara, something wonderful happened. 46 ladies gathered together to create a deceptively simple item that has profound impact on the lives of people living with breast cancer.

The ladies created the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation (HBCF) Comfort Care Packs, made up of a soft crescent shaped pillow designed to facilitate rest and a simple bag that is used to contain drainage tubing after breast surgery and allows patients to be more mobile. The 46 ladies were led by Jane Harris, Lifetime Member of Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation and volunteer coordinator of the program. They cut, sewed, ironed and stuffed approximately 200 packs in 4 hours in what is truly a labour of love. Jane has personally coordinated the creation of more than 10,000 of the packs over the course of the past fifteen years.

In addition to 46 sewing ladies at the giant sew-in, there was also a special guest – a spokesperson from AGL who announced their financial support of the program for the next 12 months.

It gives us great pleasure to be able to support this wonderful initiative for people living in the Hunter and undergoing breast surgery. As a project it meets the AGL objectives to deliver community wide benefits and build strong relationships within our local area. The Comfort Care Packs are such a simple offering, yet so beneficial to those living through a difficult time. AGL is proud to support the program,” said Ernesto Calderon, AGL Community Relations Manager.

For HBCF it eases the financial pressure to continue the program which is a staple support service and allows for some extension. “We are very grateful to AGL for their support of our Comfort Care Program. It will enable us to extend our offering and we will be making blue Comfort Care Packs for male breast cancer patients,” said Lisa Bartley, President HBCF.

The packs are provided free of charge to anyone who has undergone breast surgery in the Hunter region. The cushions provide physical support for the wound site and can be used as a chest splint, a seat belt pillow and an arm rest during chemotherapy treatments. Over 620 Comfort Care Packs were distributed in 2018.

Patients who have received the cushions and drainage bags are effusive in their thanks and praise of these simple items.

“When I had my mastectomy, this pack was comforting to me physically and emotionally. To have these for someone going through a life altering experience was a really important and touching gesture. Small gestures make huge differences.”

Sarahann Collins, May 2019

The HBCF Comfort Care Packs proudly supported by AGL and lovingly handmade by a dedicated team of sewing ladies is the perfect example of Hunter people helping Hunter people.