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home : news : news Wednesday, May 25, 2016

3/9/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Helping with the healing process. Members of Girl Scout Troop 7688 (from left) Katelyn Good, Grace Pfeifle and Erin Suhr model and display the mastectomy aprons and apron kits they recently created in an effort to earn their bronze awards. The aprons, designed for people recovering from mastectomy surgery, can be worn under clothing and contain two pockets to discreetly hold drain tubes. Photo by Kate Howes
Girl Scout project allows cancer patients to heal with dignity

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

Three Central Intermediate School students are striving to earn a bronze award - the highest honor a junior Girl Scout can receive.

However, for Katelyn Good, Grace Pfeifle and Erin Suhr, doing something to truly deserve that honor is just as important as obtaining it.

When it came time to decide on a project, the Girl Scouts borrowed an idea from Pfeifle's grandmother, Lorri Seastrand.

Seastrand's mother battled breast cancer and after undergoing surgery, a friend gave her a mastectomy apron.

The aprons are made with colorful materials, silk ribbons for ties and have two pockets to hold drain tubes.

Seastrand began making them, too, and when Good, Pfeifle and Suhr were looking for a way to earn their awards and help people at the same time, making the aprons seemed like a great choice.

"I'm so proud of these girls," Seastrand says. "They are doing something really great."

Saturday, March 2, the girls - together with their troop leaders and a group of volunteers stationed at the sewing machines - spent most of the day in the basement of Grace Lutheran Church creating as many aprons and apron kits as possible.

The aprons themselves are being donated to Trinity Regional Hospitals in Moline, Ill., and Bettendorf. The kits are for mastectomy patients or their loved ones who are interested in making their own aprons, and consist of the necessary material, pattern and instructions.

Good, Pfeifle and Suhr held fund-raisers and put up fliers to spread the word about their project and their need to purchase colorful fabrics.

People donated both money and material. While shopping for fabric, the girls say they tried to find colors and patterns to please people of all ages, tastes and even genders.

"We wanted to find something everyone would like," Pfeifle relates. "Some are made with really bright colors or flowers. We also have gray, black and camouflage material for men who've had surgery, too."

"The idea of these aprons is to help patients recover more easily," Good notes. "They can wear them under their clothes and no one will be able to see them or their drain tubes. Our goal is to make the aprons available to those who need them and by taking the kits, hopefully others will carry on making more aprons."

Pfeifle says much like her own, many families are affected by breast cancer. In fact, the girls got a first-hand glimpse of what it's like for patients who undergo mastectomies during a visit to Trinity.

"It was really interesting," Suhr says. "We got a tour of the rooms the patients stay in, the surgical unit and to see what the draining tubes look like."

"The people there were really nice," Good adds. "They said they thought we were doing a really good thing by making these aprons. That was nice to hear."

Inside each kit, the three members of Troop 7688 included a note that reads:

"my Heart is Open to the Potential that Exists when I strive to survive."

The troop still is accepting donations of material. Anyone who would like to donate or pick up a kit to sew may contact troop leader Christy Pfeifle at 563-212-8396.

Having been involved in Scouts since they were Daisies, the girls say being part of the organization has enabled them to make new friends, do all kinds of fun activities and help the environment as well as their community.

They are hopeful this apron project will provide comfort and dignity to those who are battling breast cancer.

"So many people have breast cancer and have had to have surgery," Good relates. "We just hope these aprons help make their lives a little easier."

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