June 19, 2017
MARTINSVILLE, VA – Patrick Henry Community College’s Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science students participated in a unique service project benefiting the cancer patients of Ravenel Oncology Center of Martinsville Memorial Hospital. From rising freshman to rising seniors, forty students from four area high schools came together for Upward Bound’s summer community service project.
The service project is part of Upward Bound’s Summer Discovery Institute (SDI) – a six-week long summer camp for high schools students to explore career and academic interests. During the camp, students participate in cultural activities, field trips, and college visits.
“We do community service throughout the school year with our students,” says Upward Bound Math & Science Coordinator Courtney Haworth, “I don’t think anyone expected that this project would involve sewing.”
Upward Bound worked with Tara Ardito, a Martinsville Hospital employee and former Upward Bound advisor to bring together this summer’s project. Ardito explained the need she saw at the hospital and showed the students how they could help – which involved sewing 20 porto-cath pillows for local cancer patients. These overstuffed pillows are about the size of an envelope and can be attached to a seat belt. For those going through chemotherapy, riding with a seatbelt can be uncomfortable as the belt can press on the port and needle that is embedded in their shoulder. The port pillows relieve much of the seatbelt’s pressure and can make car rides much more comfortable.
The students filled Patrick Henry Community College’s Frith Exhibit Hall Thursday afternoon after a long week of summer camp activities. Sitting around assembly tables, some groups cut fabric, some sewed the panels together, and others stuffed the pillows. One group sat with tablets typing encouraging notes for each pillow.
“We are so excited to deliver these to the Ravenel Oncology Center,” says Haworth. “We know the little pillow will be so helpful and meaningful to the ones who receive them.”
The pillows will be delivered to the oncology center to be distributed to the patients later this week.
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