Just about everyone knows someone touched by cancer, whether it is a family member, neighbor or friend. Recognizing the toll cancer treatments can take on patients and their caregivers, some people are called to help make a difference. Fortunately for the Mercy Cancer Center and many of their patients, one of those individuals is Vickie Evans.
Vickie recently felt called by God to lead an initiative at LaGrange United Methodist Church to create care kits for local individuals battling cancer. “Our pastor, Rev. Andrew Scott, frequently reminds us in his sermons that God is love and that the best way we can show that love is through our actions.”
With that belief as their inspiration, the entire church congregation rallied behind the idea of creating the care bags to show their love, donating fabric and sewing supplies to help create the bags, as well as items to fill them. Approximately 13 members came together during one workshop to sew the bags, and another team of 14 individuals spent an afternoon packing them.
“It was amazing to see how everyone came together,” says Charley Evans, Vickie’s husband and key-supporter in the project. “We had everyone from our enthusiastic crafters to individuals who hadn’t sewn in years but were willing to dust off their old sewing machines and bring them in to help. Some of the men even offered their assistance by repairing a couple of the older sewing machines.”
And rally they did. Together, the UMC team members created 117 of the care kits. Ninety-seven of them were donated to the Mercy Cancer Center and 20 of them went to individuals that members of their congregation personally know who are battling cancer.
The hand-made bags were created with a variety of brightly colored fabric and themes, from floral designs to John Deere tractors and Star Wars. The care kits include supplies such as skin care lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizers, word puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, adult coloring books, small stuffed animals, tea, and Biotene mouth rinse to help patients dealing with dry mouths. The bags were prayed over during a church service before they were brought to the Mercy Cancer Center.
“To help further show the patients that someone cares, each bag includes a tag with an encouraging note, which is signed personally by the congregation member who packed it,” adds Vickie.
Vikki Howard, social worker for the Mercy Cancer Center, marveled at the number of bags. “Because there are so many, we will be able to give the bags to many of our patients who are currently receiving treatments.”
She added, “You never know the impact a gift like this will have on someone. Being the recipient of one of these care bags could totally make a patient’s day or week. It can be such an uplifting moment for someone who has had a hard day of treatment.”
For more information about Mercy Cancer Center and how you can help, go to www.mercyonline.org/cancer