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On the Bright Side

October 22, 2012

Local employees offer patients handmade gifts from the heart

Some patients at Bassett Medical Center are leaving the hospital with handmade gifts, thanks to the efforts of one Bassett employee. 

Cyndi Miller, administrative office assistant in Radiology at Bassett Medical Center, and the staff on her service coach team have worked together to ensure all breast cancer patients leave the hospital with a handmade fabric tote bag to carry their belongings. 

A signature card (with the sewer’s name) comes with the handmade tote that says, “Please use this tote to assist you during your visit and as a reminder that others care.”

A personalized project description included for their education is found on the inside, along with a pink ribbon.

Eight volunteers currently make the totes. The bags are sewn using fabric scraps and customized for each patient. If the patient enjoys animals, then the fabric might reflect an animal motif, for example.  

“It’s definitely a gift from the heart,” Miller said. “The tote bag project is an initiative that combines the art of sewing with a gesture of kindness and caring, providing support and comfort to women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.”

According to Miller, her work in the radiology department exposed her to both the challenges patients face, and to the problem of “compassion fatigue,” or feeling overwhelmed by others’ hardships. 

“The best way to combat compassion fatigue is by finding a way to relax, and to connect a community is to find a way to comfort someone that is truly exhausted,” Miller said. 

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