Many breast cancer survivors in the UAE can now opt for free pillows to help reduce pain after surgery or radiotherapy.
The initiative, started by cancer survivor Alexa Siersdorfer in October, donates 45 pillows to different hospitals across the country on a monthly basis to provide patients with comfort.
Made in a heart shape, they can be used in a number of ways including being placed underneath the arms or, if the person is sitting in a car, underneath the seatbelt to prevent it from pressing on scars.
“I had breast cancer myself, so I experienced how important these pillows can be. If I hadn’t gone through the experience, I would have never believed how much comfort they can provide,” Siersdorfer said.
The pillows are made in soft cotton as not to hurt skin that becomes sensitive after radiotherapy or fresh scars following mastectomy.
They have been donated at hospitals such as Jebel Ali Hospital and Al Noor Hospital in Abu Dhabi. However, Siersdorfer also offers pillows for all patients.
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“If someone needs a pillow - we never sell it - they can contact us and we give it for free,” she said.
Alongside two friends, Siersdorfer sews the pillows and sources the cotton herself. As a result, the trio is open to any volunteers to help with the workload.
“We look for anyone to volunteer. We get the [pillow] fillings by ourselves. We don’t take money from anyone. If someone wants to volunteer to produce the pillows, we would appreciate any help to be able to provide for every cancer patient in the UAE,” she said.
According to Siersdorfer, who has been living in the UAE for nine years, similar projects have long been present in Europe and the US, but doctors in the UAE are also keen to introduce them to the region.
Patients or volunteers can contact Siersdorfer on +971566362030.