Hodgdon seamstresses make pillowcases for young cancer patients

4 years ago

HODGDON, Maine — Sometimes, something as simple as a colorful new pillowcase can help brighten the spirits of a youngster battling cancer.

Jennifer Metzger works on a pillowcase at the Hodgdon United Methodist Church during a Jan. 11 sewing party at the church. Volunteers made 204 pillowcases for the “Ryan’s Case for Smiles” cancer group. (Courtesy of Hodgdon United Methodist Church)

For the past six years, members of the Hodgdon United Methodist Church have put their sewing skills to the test to create pillowcases for “Ryan’s Case for Smiles,” a non-profit organization whose mission is to decorate hospital rooms of children who are fighting cancer.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, about 19 members of the church came together to work on creating pillowcases for the charitable cause.

“Ryan’s Case for Smiles (formerly ConKerr Cancer) was founded in 2007 to bring comfort and support to young patients and their families in hospitals around the globe by giving whimsical fabric pillowcases to very ill children who are hospitalized,” said Jennifer Metzger, one of the event organizers for the church. “This organization is solely dedicated to helping kids feel better as they undergo treatment for cancer and other life-changing illnesses.”

In Maine, the non-profit group’s chapter is based out of Portland, but there are more than 120 chapters around the United States and Canada that participate, supporting 362 hospitals, Rev. Han said. To date, the non-profit group has received more than two million pillowcases made by volunteers.

Boxes of pillowcases are packed for shipping. The pillowcases were made by volunteers at the Hodgdon United Methodist Church Jan. 11 and will be sent to hospitals where children are being treated for cancer. (Courtesy of Hodgdon United Methodist Church)

“This is the sixth year that the Hodgdon United Methodist Church has come together and made Ryan’s Case for Smiles our January Mission Project,” Metzger said. “A total of 204 pillowcases were completed this year at our project day, and will be distributed to hospitals in Maine that give care to children in treatment.”

The Portland chapter provides pillowcases for Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston; Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor; St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston; Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent; Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft; and the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.

“As one mother said to me, ‘To you it may just be a cute pillowcase, but the day the nurse brought my daughter her pillowcase and put it on her pillow, it became a happy event that gave my child a big smile,’” Metzger said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed the quotes to the Rev. Victor Han.