28 Dec 10

Helping Cancer Patients with Hug Wraps

As the daughter of a cancer survivor, my heart melted when I read about Hug Wraps and their creator, Brenda Jones.  I wanted to reach out to her to learn more and I’m excited to be able to share her story with you in an interview today!

Meylah: Please tell us about Hug Wraps!

Brenda: Hug Wraps are a hospital gown alternative for cancer patients.  They are a handmade kimono style wrap that opens in the front and ties with a belt.  They come in a variety of lengths and sizes and I make them for women, men and children.  A Hug Wrap provides comfort and warmth to patients undergoing various treatments like chemo, daily radiation, ultra sounds, CT scans, x-rays, testing, mammograms, Dr office visits, PT, during an extended hospital stay, at home during recovery, in a nursing home or on hospice.  For mastectomy/lumpectomy/reconstruction patients, I will add inside pockets to the Hug Wrap to hold surgical drains or insulin pumps.  Sleeves are ¾ length for added warmth, are wide and non-restrictive to allow for patients with IV’s or lymphedema. Also Hug Wraps are easy to slip on/off for patients unable to raise their arms after surgery.  Hug Wraps allow for easy access to ports, drains and dressing changes.  There are no metal snaps, hooks or buttons that would irritate sensitive skin or rub against incisions, drains or radiation burns.

Meylah: What made you think of the idea?

Brenda: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 10/08.  By the time I reached daily radiation treatments in 1/09, I was a very angry cancer patient.  On my first day of radiation, the nurse said “go in there and change into a hospital gown, you will be wearing them for daily treatments”.  I went in the dressing room, looked at the stack of hideous, wrinkled, itchy, thin blue gowns, and lost it!  That was the last straw.  Putting on a hospital gown was like telling the world and me, “I am a patient and I am sick.” So, I thought… “Not me, I am not wearing these ugly gowns for 7 weeks.  I am going to make my own to wear”!  So, I put on 2 hospital gowns and my coat because I was freezing, and went to take a seat in the waiting area.  By the time I sat down, I had a complete design in my head for the perfect gown alternative.  I needed to make something warm, bright, soft and fun! I could not control cancer but I can control what I wear!

Meylah: We understand that you are underway to turn Hug Wraps into a 501c(3) Non-Profit Corporation, what can members of our community do to help you with Hug Wraps?

Brenda: I never dreamed that something I made for myself, to get me through a difficult time, would also be a comfort to other patients.  But I am so glad they are.  My ultimate goal is to get Hug Wraps to patients everywhere.  I decided to pursue making Hug Wraps a 501c(3) Non-Profit Corporation so that I can, one day, make these available to patients for free.  Once I receive final approval, I can seek grants and sponsorship help to make this dream a reality.  Right now, I rely on the help of monetary donations.  These donations are used to help purchase the flannel fabric, sewing supplies and to cover postage cost.  I have made and given away so many Hug Wraps for free that I simply ran out of money.  Because I am doing this alone, I am always in need of any and all help from the community.  From those who can help with grant writing to fundraising to PR.   Perhaps my biggest need at the moment is finding a licensed attorney(s) and CPA’s who would be willing to donate their time with legal and professional help.  Those knowledgeable in the 501c(3)Non-Profit laws here in NJ.

Meylah: What feedback have you’ve received from recipients of Hug Wraps?

Brenda: The first response is always "What a wonderful idea!", followed by:

  • "Thank You for my Hug Wrap"
  • "I cried when I read the personal note you put in with my Hug Wrap"
  • "It keeps me so warm and comfortable and I am no longer cold in the treatments rooms"
  • "You found the perfect pattern for me and I love it"
  • "You gave me back my dignity"
  • "I wish I had a Hug Wrap back when I was going through my treatments"
  • "When I put on my Hug Wrap, I also put on a smile"
  • "Thank you for all you do for cancer patients like me"
  • "I am the best dressed patient in radiation"
  • "I know someone going through cancer treatments right now. This would be PERFECT for them"

Meylah: How do you spend your free time when you’re away from the sewing machine?

Brenda: I have been an avid country music fan most of my life.  My most favorite thing to do is going to concerts.  There are a lot of country artists that perform in my area so you can bet I am somewhere in the audience!    I also love going to the movies but, it has to be a comedy.  I love laughing to people like Dane Cook.  I am also working on crossing things off my bucket list.

Thank you Brenda for sharing your story!

I hope you’ve been touched by Brenda and what she is doing for cancer patients all over, for more information on Hug Wraps or to provide assistance to Brenda, please visit Hug Wraps or email her at: hugwraps@verizon.net.

Posted by: Courtney Dirks

Posted in: community

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1 Janis N. Senungetuk commented on 12/28/2010

Thank you Brenda. Your idea and efforts are really wonderful. I hope that you're able to get the assistance that you're looking for.

2 KiP Walker commented on 12/29/2010

Since I can not see the actual pattern I may be suggesting something that is available in the design. As more and more people turn to sound healing/music to support their healing journey a pocket for an mp3/iPod would be a great addition. While hospitalized for surgery, I had my iPod even in the OR. Some of the gowns had "pockets", but many didn't. A real pocket would have been really great.
Thanks for your good work

3 P Nader commented on 02/03/2012

My sister is now faced with an ongoing journey of treatment. Love your idea and finding strength in helping others. I have a sewing machine and material and would love a pattern to make my sister a wrap to start her treatments. Have you considered sharing your patterns? Best of luck to you on your new ventures.

4 Marilyn Renaud commented on 02/08/2012

I would love to know how to make these HUG WRAPS, what a great idea to help others.

5 Connie Wright commented on 09/25/2012

I would love to know how to make these for our small hosptial----we do have a cancer unit.

6 Shirley Roland commented on 09/28/2012

What a great idea. How can I get a pattern?

7 Yvonne Moffet commented on 10/12/2012

I read ur story in the Guideposts an thought it was a wonderful thing u are doing. I understand totally about those gowns n they don't even fully cover u stiff as a board. I myself am a cancer patient. I was diagnoised with Stage 3 right breast cancer back in June had my surgery in July plus all the test that goes along with it. Right now i am having my 4 treatment of Chemo the strong kind it was in 13 lymph nodes but not in the breast tissue. They give me 90 to 100 percent success rate. I would love to know how i can get one of those gowns for my self. i am a heavy woman i wear size 5 would be knee length. Yvonne Moffet 5511 Carpenter Ln. Ozark, AR 72949 Thanks

8 marty miller commented on 11/01/2012

I saw your article in Guidepost and am very interested in a wrap for my daughter. She has a reoccurent breast cancer and will be starting radiation this time. She is a single mom with small children and somewhat discouraged. I would like to do all I can to help her through this journey with as much dignity as possible. Do you sell the wraps or share the pattern?
Thank you so much for your time.
Many blessings!

9 M.J. Burris commented on 11/19/2012

What a great idea. I have loads of time on my hands and was wondering if it would be possiable to get a copy of the pattern. Am more than willing to pay a reasonable price. We are on a limited income as my husband is retired and I was a stay at home mom. I love to sew. I look foreward to hearing from you. Merla

10 Lori commented on 11/20/2012

Saw you on a home type show where they remade your sewing room etc. I'm so pleased with your idea, what a blessing you are! Is there a chance I could purchase any? My 46yr old sister is in a facility with little doubt on being weaned off her respirator. I know this would be a huge blessing! Let me know if you have a place to order and pay through paypal ? Great work, may God bless you in a big way! Lori

11 Jana Turner commented on 01/16/2013

I love this idea! Thanks for all your hard work. I would like to buy a pattern, if it is available. I would love to make some to give to hospitals and friends. Thanks!

12 Donna Hofschild commented on 01/27/2013

I have diabetes and also had bilateral masectomy. I would like to help some friends who are going through their cancer lives with radiation treatment. Would it be possible to get a pattern so I could sew a hugwrap for her and some other cancer patients in the Pleasant Hill (Kansas City), MO area?

13 judy rhodes commented on 02/15/2013

I want to make these for my town cancer center. Would share the pattern with me or tell me how to find 1. Thank you.

14 dianne morneault commented on 07/09/2013

Where can I purchase one of these. My sister
is just starting radiation and I would like
to purchase on for her.
Thanks. Having a husband that died from lung cancer making them as comfortable as
possible is very important.

15 Jenell commented on 03/15/2014

I am looking for a pattern to make cancer port pillows. I make hats and gave one to a cancer patient and was asked to make a pillow port to cover the port so it would not hurt.
Would like any suggestions. Thanks

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