Serve Team Spotlight: Chemo Care Bags
Bringing comfort to those with cancer...
In 2009, Susi Folks’ friend was finally cancer free. She had made it through chemotherapy, surgery—and the hardship that comes with it. Now, she wanted to direct her restored energy toward loving others going through the same thing, and Susi wanted to help her do it. The two sponsored a church event to benefit those very people, and through the parting gift of the event—a simple canvas bag—an idea was born. Susi and some friends began strategizing, researching, and reaching out to a community of health professionals, cancer survivors, and their families to discover how best to meet the immediate needs of women living with the disease. It didn’t take long for the concept of ‘Chemo-Care bags’ to emerge as a simple, but much appreciated response.
The first ingredient in a Chemo-Care Bag is the bag itself—usually a colorful, quilted tote sewn by hand. Inside the bag is a blanket, almost always handmade as well, ranging in style from the traditional knitted afghan to the popular fleece-tie style. Then the bag is filled with other thoughtful personal care items: a hat and a pair of fuzzy warm socks for when you’re freezing and a mini-fan for when you’re burning up. For aftercare, there’s a shower-poof and bodywash, mouthwash and mints, plus the squeezable comfort of a plush teddy named ChemoSabee. Of course, hours in the doctor’s office is often boring, so there are puzzle books, coloring books, a devotional journal, notecards, colored pencils and sharpeners. And every bag also contains a great little Gospel tract—because these bags are for everyone.
Susi didn’t start this ministry in Texas—but since 2015 she has distributed over 2,500 bags in the DFW area through the help of partner organizations and individuals alike, all volunteers. Bags find their way to recipient ladies through places like Women’s Health Boutique and Survivor Gals, in Plano; Women Rock in Sherman, and Nurse Navigators, just to name a few. Then, there are the numerous requests for bags from families and friends; her ministry fulfills them each, even including shipping when necessary, at no cost.
The Chemo-Care Bag Ministry is a blessing to all who are involved, and there is an army of volunteers who have made a long-term commitment to support it—women at the Little Elm Senior Center sewing bags regularly; there’s a woman in Anna, Texas who produces seven bags a week! Every bag is prayed over from the moment the fabric is selected—the women, their families, and their caregivers. Susi is always looking for more support and more people to bless as her ministry grows daily. There are many ways to partner with Chemo-Care Bags. If sewing isn’t your thing, then perhaps donating personal care items might be. Susi also welcomes donations of fabric, buttons, and other supplies, as well as monetary gifts.
And for anyone who knows a woman dealing with cancer, please reach out to Susi and get them a bag. It’s practical and tangible proof of your love, and God’s love for them. You can contact Susi Folks via e-mail at [email protected].