Launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, the Robes for Radiation program provides warmed, waffle knit robes for radiation therapy patients to change into while awaiting their treatment appointment. The robes are offered in place of “Johnny shirts” and provide increased modesty and warmth to patients. The Foundation purchased the robes and warming cabinet and funds laundering of the robes.
The Dignity Robe program was started in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Arlene Seeger, who knew that her good friend was undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer without the benefit of being “clothed” while being treated. She enlisted volunteers to sew “radiation-friendly” gowns for women in her local hospital. The program is now present in hospitals in many cities in the United States, including Chicago and New York.
In early 2014, a local group of six costume seamstresses decided to look for another way to volunteer their sewing skills and started a similar program for women in Windsor. They recruited volunteers to help and now number approximately 27 in the group named “Sewing It Forward“. The robes open on three sides with Velcro, allowing breast and lung cancer patients to wear the robes during their radiation therapy treatments. The robes are theirs to care for during treatment, and keep, burn, bury or whatever they wish to do with them after treatment is completed.