A warm blanket for sick people: chemo patients receiving comfort kits
Published Thursday, February 4, 2016 1:50PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 4, 2016 7:36PM EST
The woman who brought bells to cancer wards at the MUHC is now bringing comfort to chemotherapy patients.
As part of World Cancer Day the Bell Fund, in conjunction with the Cedars Cancer Centre, is introducing comfort kits for patients getting treatment for the disease.
Judy Martin came up with the idea after going through extensive chemotherapy for breast cancer.
The kits include several items including a blanket, something Martin says will come in very useful for chemotherapy patients.
"The chemotherapy room is cool, obviously for a reason, it's temperature-controlled, but when you're having the medication put through your veins you get really cold," said Martin.
She said chemotherapy has had long-term effects on her body.
"Everyone teases me about wearing a scarf, but I'm pretty much always cold now, and I wasn't before," she said.
The fleece blankets being distributed by her fund come with a special pocket for a person's feet, and another pocket intended for a book or magazine.
The kits also include a tote bag, magazines, a notebook and pen for taking down medical notes, a reusable water bottle and a tin of mints to combat the metallic taste that chemotherapy can leave in a person's mouth.
Students from Knowlton Academy have written get-well notes that will be given to patients as well.
So far about 500 kits have been assembled, and the Bell Fund hopes to assemble another several thousand.
About 1,000 patients get chemotherapy treatment at the Cedars Centre each year.
Martin's affiliation with the MUHC began several years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
As she neared the end of her chemotherapy treatment she wanted to do something special, and having heard what was done at a hospital in Toronto, purchased a bell to be installed at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
"The bell was my way to pay it forward to every staff member along the way who had helped me," said Martin.
"I always said that everybody in the room was there to make you better, and they really were."
When the Royal Vic moved to the Glen Yards, so did the bell, and there are now several installed around the Cedars Cancer Centre and a new bell was installed Wednesday at the Montreal Children's Hospital.