Fourteen women from the Inner Wheel Club of Matthews-Mint Hill gather pink, polka dot and floral printed fabric on Tuesday afternoon at Christ Lutheran Church on Providence Road. Working together they sew, stuff and pin their heartfelt support onto breast cancer pillows for the Novant Health Breast Center.
“Since 2013, we’ve sewn and delivered over 200 pillows to Novant Health Presbyterian Breast Center in Matthews and Uptown,” Anna Moore, Inner Wheel of Matthews-Mint Hill president and district chair, said.
Ellen Burton, a resident of The Heathers in Matthews, first told the club about the breast cancer pillows after receiving one herself, just before having a lumpectomy in June 2012.
“It was wonderful to get one,” Burton said. “… (The doctors) take the lymph nodes out, so the pillows give support and keep you from putting strain on the stitches.”
Former national and chapter president Miriam Fisher felt moved by the emotional and physical representation of the breast cancer pillows. Fisher, a 77-year-old Crown Colony resident, said, “We can do this,” and created the pattern for the club’s first pillow by measuring Burton’s in 2012.
The club members have worked together and individually ever since to continue creating and delivering the breast cancer pillows.
Kay Lackey, nurse navigator at Novant Health Breast Center in Uptown, said staff members feel honored to pass along these pillows to their patients.
“On the day of surgery, (the patients) are rushed here and there … and this is often the moment when they feel cared for, receiving beautiful handmade pillows. It’s quite a special moment,” she said.
Kathy Goforth, 61 years old, works in Patient Relations at Novant Health Breast Center. Goforth, who lives in northeast Charlotte, joined the Inner Wheel of Matthews-Mint Hill in the fall of last year, because she was inspired by the club’s service and commitment to women with breast cancer.
“At least one or two (breast cancer) surgeries happen every day (at Novant Health Breast Center in Uptown),” Goforth said “… we have a breast cancer pillow shortage, and I am excited to start helping.”
The breast cancer pillow project is just one of many service commitments made by the Matthews-Mint Hill club.
Club president Moore said the group recently raised $1,075 from holiday gift basket raffles. Club members collectively agreed to donate 100 percent of the money to Inner Wheel Foundation U.S.A., Matthews Rotary Club, Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care, Lily Pad Haven, Children’s Home Society, McClintock Middle School’s McPIE program and Habitat for Humanity of Matthews. They also committed to a clothing drive for Turning Point Domestic Violence Shelter in Union County, and plan to volunteer during Blessed Assurance’s charity golf tournament in April.
Club member Diane Bonéy talked about the impact McClintock’s program had on struggling students. McPIE is a program adopted by Christ Lutheran Church that serves meals, donates resources and provides transportation to church services for McClintock families in need.
“You don’t know how much, even years later, these organizations are changing lives,” Bonéy said.
The Inner Wheel of Matthews-Mint Hill, founded in 1994, is a chapter of Inner Wheel U.S.A – a women’s organization originally created for the wives of rotary members who were interested in building friendships, community service and fostering international understanding. They commit hundreds of hours every year to helping local nonprofits that serve women and children, while also forging sisterly bonds that last a lifetime.
“It’s an outreach – to help the community and each other,” Fisher said.
Find more information about Inner Wheel U.S.A. at www.innerwheelusa.com/. People interested in joining Inner Wheel of Matthews-Mint Hill can email Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.