Breast Cancer Survivor And Teenage Son Hand-Sew Neck Pillows To Bring Comfort To Cancer Patients

by Kelly Glass
Kelly Glass is a writer whose work focuses on the intersections of parenting, health, and pop culture. She lives in an Illinois college town with her educator husband, wildly ambitious sons, dog, and several fish. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Romper,, HelloGiggles,, What to Expect, and more.

The Fox Chase Cancer Center got a special donation from a special person. Kat Kramer, a breast cancer survivor, makes handmade neck pillows to provide comfort to cancer patients currently in treatment.

“I just wanted to do something to give back,” Kat said. Four years ago, Kat sat in the very same cancer center getting chemotherapy.

“It’s devastating, it’s hard, it wears away at your soul,” Kat said. “When you’re going through chemo or your radiation, you just kind of have a little support for your neck, ’cause you’ve got to sit there for three or four hours. [It’s] a little something to cushion, make you feel better.”

Her son Alex, who watched his mom battle cancer when he was a kid, is now a 13-year-old who helps his mom sew these special pillows.

For him, it’s a lesson in giving back.

“So other people can be happy and have hope,” Alex said.

Fox Chase Cancer Center distributes the pillows throughout the hospital. “We are just so grateful for the generosity,” said director of volunteer services Helen Gordon. Cancer patients receiving the pillows, like 33-year-old breast cancer patient Bonnie Ettenger, are grateful for the kind act as well. “[You’re] in a very bad, uncomfortable, sad thing, and when people want to pay it forward, it just makes you really happy,” Bonnie said.

In the end, Kat just wants to do what she can to bring a little bit of comfort to an overwhelming situation. “If I could do just one little thing to make it that much more comfortable and bring them some hope, then I’m there,” said Kat. “I’m happy.”

Watch the video to see Kat and Alex pass out pillows to current patients.

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