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2/2/09: Emerson Auxiliary makes a difference for Bethke patients

The Emerson Hospital Auxiliary recently donated $18,000 to Emerson Hospital’s Bethke Cancer Center. This donation will enhance patient support programs. Along with this monetary donation, the Auxiliary wanted to support patients directly, so they launched the comfort quilts gift program, which was started in 2005. Through the program, the Auxiliary donates quilts to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation. In 2007 and 2008, 137 quilts were made and donated, bringing the total number of quilts to 326. Several quilt-making groups contribute to this effort, including Concord Piece-makers, Material Girls, and Wayside Quilters. Rosaria T. Colosi, a breast cancer survivor and an Auxiliary member, also contributed to this effort.

In 2008, the Auxiliary also donated 36 “anti-ouch pillows.” These pillows are hand-made and can be worn under the arm to minimize the discomfort of cancer therapy or surgery. The pillows were made by a group of 20 women at a sew-a-thon held at the Haartz Corporation in Acton. Most of attendees were from the Boston Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. The anti-ouch pouches were distributed to radiation oncology, medical oncology, and to the surgeon’s offices at Emerson.

The Auxiliary’s donations to the Bethke Cancer Center have provided the financial support for complementary massage therapy and acupuncture treatments for oncology patients. These integrative therapies make a difference in the management of pain, anxiety, and nausea. In addition, donations support programs such as breast cancer handbooks for new patients and guided imagery by use of audiovisual equipment and relaxation CDs.

“Through these additional supports, patients connect with the heart and soul of community members whose gifts encourage them in their struggle and perhaps inspire them to find strength on a day when they had little,” said Margaret Koch, cancer center administrator at Emerson Hospital. “The Auxiliary’s generous contribution has helped to support Emerson in making Bethke Cancer Center a real jewel in our community.”

At the heart of Emerson’s comprehensive cancer program is the Bethke Cancer Center, which combines talented cancer specialists and state-of-the-art technology in a convenient, comfortable setting. The Bethke Cancer Center is committed to providing compassionate and supportive care for patients and their families. By partnering with Massachusetts General Hospital, the Center is able to provide the latest, highest-quality treatment close to home and family.

The Emerson Hospital Auxiliary supports Emerson Hospital through a wide variety of activities ranging from members-only gatherings to large events open to the public. If you like to organize, create, cook, network, write, edit, speak in public, or contribute to your community, the Auxiliary welcomes your participation. Anyone interested in learning more about the Auxiliary should contact Karen McCarthy at 978-371-2133 for more information.