Third grader Abbi Zamani of Clinton, Indiana, creates pillows to comfort cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy at Hux Cancer Center in Terre Haute.
Abbi was inspired to begin her project — Pillows for Patients — after her mother, Carlie, began treatment at the center for pancreatic cancer.
“When I went on my first appointment, they let us walk through,” says Carlie Zamani, Abbi’s mother. “We saw someone had made tiny port pillows for when patients ride in the car, and that is kinda how she got her idea. She said she could make something like that.”
Indy’s Child talked with Abbi to learn more about her project and why she does it.
What inspired you to create Pillows for Patients?
My mom. It made me think the people in Hux Cancer Center needed comfort.
Why did you decide to make pillows and not something else?
I know the chairs are very uncomfortable there because I have sat in them.
How did you learn to make pillows?
A few years ago, my grandma taught me how to sew and I remembered how to do it.
How many pillows have you made and given away so far?
I have made 185 and I’ve pretty much given most away.
How long does it take to make one pillow? What is your process?
About 45 minutes. First, I have to have my grandma cut them. Then, I have to sew them with the sewing machine. Next, I unfold them and stuff them. Then, my grandma helps sew them up.
Do you have a favorite pillow?
I like the one with llamas and flowers. Then, the purple one because that is the color used when talking about pancreatic cancer.
What’s the most special moment for you since starting?
I made pillows, and then went to Hux Cancer Center to hand them out to patients. I told them my story and talked to them. They all said thank you and they put the pillow behind their head. I walked around and had a chance to see them all using their pillows.
How can others help with your project?
A few people have donated. A box of materials was sent to me following a feature about the project on Inside Edition. If anyone wants to donate, email my mom at [email protected] and she will set things up. We don’t ask anybody to pay for the pillows, so any donation helps. We appreciate it!
What would you like other children to know about doing a project such as this?
You have to have a humble heart. No matter what you do, you need to be dedicated. Pick a project that means a lot to you. You need to have a really good reason to do it. I have a really good reason to do this project.