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Dona Ana County 4-H members partner with ConKerr Cancer to comfort young patients

More than three-dozen members, from six different 4-H clubs in Dona Ana County, joined together earlier this year to use their skills to help bring comfort to cancer patients in the form of a hand-sewn pillowcase.

Photo of two girls folding pillowcases they have sewn.
Emma Kenney, of the City Slickers 4-H Club, and Aimee Coletti, of the Taylor Road Turkeys 4-H Club, fold pillowcases after sewing them during a recent sewing event. (Submitted photo)

Dona Ana County 4-H recently partnered with ConKerr Cancer, whose mission is to organize volunteers across the U.S., the United Kingdom and Africa to sew colorful pillowcases, which are then distributed to children battling life-threatening illnesses.

"This is an ideal way for our members to use their sewing talents and benefit a worthy cause," said Eva Madrid, the Dona Ana County 4-H Extension agent. "We have many members who learn sewing skills through their 4-H projects and are always ready, willing and able to lend their hand to a group like ConKerr Cancer. We were thrilled that the members sewed 112 pillowcases in four hours, which will be distributed to children throughout the region."

4-H programs in New Mexico are administered by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. Madrid said Dona Ana County 4-H was approached by ConKerr Cancer about the project last year. Their first sew day was in July of 2012 and received a positive response from 4-H members and adults. Their second day was earlier this year.

"Unfortunately the number of sick children never ends," Madrid said. "And ConKerr continues to expand its efforts to help brighten patients' lives and raise awareness about childhood cancer. Dona Ana County 4-H is proud to help with this mission."

It is the goal of ConKerr Cancer to make hospital stays as pleasant as possible for chronically ill children and their parents. Simultaneously, the pillowcase project has fostered a spirit of community and volunteer service in communities across North America.

Supplies for the pillows come from donations. The 4-H members are asked to bring their own sewing machines during the "sew days." Once the pillowcases are sewn, they are given to ConKerr Cancer and are washed, folded and bagged. The Dona Ana County 4-H pillowcases have been donated to the El Paso Children's Hospital.

For more Information contact Madrid at 575-525-6649 or emadrid@nmsu.edu