Community Gem: Gang of Seamstresses sews special shirts for cancer patients

From left to right: Pat Cochran, Marion Newman, Cindy Mittag, Carole Wright, Larene Newman, Cindy Polander, all  members of the Gang of Seamstresses. Courtesy of Pat Cochran.
Caption
From left to right: Pat Cochran, Marion Newman, Cindy Mittag, Carole Wright, Larene Newman, Cindy Polander, all members of the Gang of Seamstresses. Courtesy of Pat Cochran.

Credit: Picasa

Credit: Picasa

The Gang of Seamstresses started with Pat Cochran making a shirt for a childhood friend with cancer.

She sewed a zipper along the arm from the neck to the sleeve so the nurses could give him infusion therapy without her friend needing to change into a hospital gown.

“He wore them to the James, when he got his cancer treatment, and the nurses went crazy over them,” Cochran said.

She kept making them, then contacted some of her seamstress friends for help and got donations of shirts for their group. Now, they’ve donated almost 7,000 shirts to cancer patients.

Martha Hoying, a social worker at Kettering Cancer Care who nominated Cochran as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem for her work sewing shirts, said she admires Cochran and her team’s dedication.

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“So many times, we hear of people who want to help when someone has been diagnosed with cancer and they are not sure how to show that support,” Hoying said. “For Pat and her team, this was a perfect way to show that support.”

Cochran said the shirts they modify are donated from all over. There are shirts from races that weren’t used, extra tees from community events or community groups like the Girl Scouts, and more. They rely on donated shirts, Cochran said.

Seven women, whose ages range from 40 to 72, are in the group that make the shirts.

Cochran said the shirts go to Premier Health, Kettering Health, Nationwide Children’s’ Hospital in Columbus, Cincinnati Children’s and even directly to patients who request them. She said the idea for the shirts came from when she was scrolling through a website and saw the shirts priced at $35.

“I thought, holy cow, I can make these,” she said.