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: firstname.lastname@example.org.