Sew what?

The SASS and Hats of Hope sewing groups met members from the Terrigal Wamberal Lions Club at the Cancer Council on July 27 for a 'Thank you' morning tea.

Central Coast-based sewing groups and home sewers have dedicated their time and resources to making headwear for cancer patients, with local organisations joining in on the cause and providing funding and support to purchase the materials.

Cancer Council Central Coast has a community of sewing ladies who make headwear and other items such as drainage bags, pillow ports and scan bags for cancer patients undergoing treatment.

The finished products are delivered to the Cancer Centre at Gosford Hospital, Gosford Private Hospital, Wyong Hospitals, and Cancer Council NSW’s office in The Hive, Erina Fair.

Cancer Council’s community programs coordinator, Twynette Dickinson, said the items helped patients feel a little bit better about themselves during such a challenging time.

“Losing your hair during cancer treatment can be very confronting for most people, so being provided with headwear often makes patients emotional,” Dickinson said.

“The fact that they are free also helps those patients who struggle due to ongoing cancer treatment.”

The group was started by local cancer survivor, Irene Eves, who has since moved away with her family and has left a legacy in the community, inspiring others to continue this kind offer.

Dickinson said the Cancer Council Central Coast started supporting Irene by providing labels, pins and stationery items for her sewing.

“It wasn’t long after that other ladies and home sewers started to help out, and as the group got bigger, they began working out of Hobbysew in Erina,” Dickinson said.

“Over the last 10 years, I think they’ve made nearly 1000 pieces annually for local cancer patients.

“When Irene moved away, the group decided they wanted to continue the work, and it’s now quite a large initiative.”

There are now two separate groups consisting of SASS (Sewing & Sanity Sisters) at Greenpoint Community Centre and Hats of Hope, a group at Alloura Waters Retirement Village in Davistown, plus some residents who sew at home.

Cancer Council supports the initiative by linking the treatment centres, securing funding from The Terrigal Wamberal Lions Club, and providing ongoing support to the sewing volunteers.

“A few years before COVID-19, Phillip Turner, of the Lions Club, was a hospital volunteer and heard that Irene was trying to raise money for materials,” Dickinson said.

“Originally starting at $500 a year, the Lions Club have upped their donation and now donate $1000 annually to the sewing groups, helping them to purchase materials.”

The Sewing Basket at Kincumber has also jumped on board and is donating materials to the groups.

The two sewing groups and the Terrigal Wamberal Lions Club met for morning tea on July 27 to officially meet each other, chat and share ideas.

“It was nice for them to come together and socialise,” Dickinson said.

“Due to COVID-19, they hadn’t even met each other yet…they made such a connection that some Lions Club ladies are going to start sewing, and some sewing ladies are going to start attending Lions Club events.

“It was a lovely morning, and it’s just a very heart-warming and positive initiative for the community.”

For anyone going through cancer treatment, Cancer Council Central Coast provides financial, emotional, and practical support for those affected by cancer.

For more information or support, contact 13 11 20 or the Erina office on 02 43364500.

Hayley McMahon

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