This year our first feature project was a pretty simple one, to get students re-engaged and show new participants how most of these projects require only a few skills. After a couple weeks of letting students use the space to make spirit wear for Homecoming week (we went through more than 800 yards of tulle ribbon…note to self: tutus are popular among a surprising number of high school students), we announced that we would start the year by making small pillows that some people call “port softies.” When a cancer patient is undergoing chemotherapy he or she often has a port installed under the skin for the purposes of delivering the treatment as well as some other uses. Having a port can make wearing a seat belt uncomfortable, and these small pillows are a great solution. We took the fabric remaining from making stuffed elephants in May and did the cutting in advance to make the project especially easy.
Many lessons were taught regarding how to “drive” the sewing machines, and stories were shared about the students’ vast and varied experiences with family members and cancer. Some students came in to make one, and others made several over the course of many class periods. At the end of September I delivered nearly 50 port softies to the UC Health Cancer Center at Medical Center of the Rockies. 16 students participated in this two-week project, many of them new to the space.