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Roswell 4-Her inspired to create a piece of home for cancer patients

"Sometimes the worst situations can inspire great things. It happened to me in a way I never predicted or expected."

Two girls at sewing machine
Jordan Young helps a fellow 4-Her with her fabric before sewing the pieces together as a pillowcase. Young created the project, "peaceful pillowcases" as a way to give a piece of home to children and adults being treated for cancer. (NMSU photo by Audry Olmsted)

Jordan Young, of Roswell, said she was inspired to give cancer patients a little piece of home after her cousin was diagnosed with a tumor a few years ago. Young made several trips to Albuquerque with her cousin for treatment. There, she saw that there were several children who had traveled a great distance from home for treatment.

"I wanted to do something that would give them a sense of home because they are away from home a lot of the time," she said. "I decided to make something that no matter what hospital they were receiving treatment at, or how far away they were from home, they could always keep this gift with them. Most everyone has a pillow!"

And so began her project to make "peaceful pillowcases" for children and adults with cancer. Young was moved to call her project "peaceful pillowcases" from a verse in the Bible, Psalm 4:8, which reads, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

The 4-Her knew she would need help sewing dozens of pillowcases, so she reached out to her fellow 4-H friends with New Mexico State University's Chaves County Cooperative Extension Service on a recent weekend to create approximately 30 pillowcases.

4-Hers and parents brought their own pillowcase-making supplies to be donated to this worthy service project.

The group had fun matching happy, fun colors and patterns for the cases. Each pillowcase consisted of a body, accent and cuff in coordinating colors. Each completed pillowcase was placed in a gift bag with a card bearing the Bible verse for which it is named.

Before the pillowcases were delivered, Young took them to her church, Bethel Baptist, where the members prayed over each pillowcase and the person who would be receiving it.

The most recent batch of homemade pillowcases was delivered to an adult cancer treatment center in Roswell. But this is not the first time Young has put "peaceful pillowcases" into action. Last year, she and a team of 4-H'ers and Girl Scouts completed 85 pillowcases that were given to children with cancer at an Albuquerque hospital through the Basket of Hope Foundation.

"This is a great project that Jordan planned and then initiated. She has done this two years in a row with the 4-Hers," said Shannon Wooton, Extension home economist. "This community service project provides the opportunity for the 4-H kids to come together, practice their sewing skills; from picking their fabric to cutting it, to sewing the pieces and packaging the final product."

Young said this project has really helped her hone her leadership skills.

"Through this project, I learned and developed many leadership skills, such as planning, implementation, accomplishment, motivation, responsibility and involvement. These are lifelong skills," she said. "As a result of the project, I learned that I have the ability to help others and to make a difference in the lives of those who are going through hardship."

Young said this is a 4-H project she would like to continue in the future.