Church ministry provides practical support for cancer survivors

How a 17-year-old's passion for sewing inspired a new ministry on Sydney's northern beaches.

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Lilly (third from left) and the rest of the Heart 2 Heart team.

A new ministry was recently launched at Freshwater Community Church, an Adventist church on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Seventeen-year-old Lilly Jenke had a passion for sewing and wanted to use her talent to help people going through difficult times. She soon learned about support pillows, which are used to support women after they have undergone breast cancer surgery, and began making these pillows with the intention of donating them to cancer patients.

Several women from her church found out what Lilly was doing and wanted to support her. They decided to form a small group that would meet at the church fortnightly and sew for the sake of helping others. On March 17, they went shopping for material and launched the project on March 24, which they named the Heart 2 Heart Pillow Project. They made thirteen pillows on the first day.

After launching the project, the women were eager to begin donating their pillows but weren’t sure where to start. After much prayer, they were led to make an appointment with the McGrath Foundation breast cancer nurses at Royal North Shore Hospital.

On April 3, the Heart 2 Heart team took some sample pillows and a presentation paper and met with the nurses.

“The reception was great. They liked the idea and the pillows straight away!” said one team member. “They were very enthusiastic and asked us if we would cover the local district, which would include other hospitals.”

Royal North Shore Hospital even organised a promotional photoshoot for the Heart 2 Heart team, so that other hospitals could see the work that they were doing. More than 60 pillows have been sewn by the group including 23 by Lilly herself.

Breast cancer nurse Catrina Ross thanked Lilly and the group for their thoughtfulness and kindness in the hospital newsletter.

“I know Lilly started this project with the goal of spreading love and she has certainly achieved that,” she said.