Sharp Grossmont Hospital volunteer Billie Jean Gahan has been sewing since she was in the seventh grade. She has sewn everything from suits to a wedding gown.
Now, as a retiree, she joins other seamstresses in the second-floor volunteer office to create hospital gowns and hand puppets for children in the Emergency Department, pink pillows for breast cancer patients, and walker, wheelchair and IV cover bags for hospital patients.
Gahan is only one of seven volunteers who are part of a sewing group at Sharp Grossmont — the only one of its kind within Sharp’s acute care hospitals. The group meets every Thursday, cutting patterns and sewing seams while exchanging personal stories.
"In addition to the comfort the gowns and stuffed animals offer children in our Emergency Department, the stuffed animals and puppets also provide comfort to visitors and our adult patients," said Linda Van Fulpen, Manager, Volunteer Services, Sharp Grossmont. "They also help entertain kids in the waiting areas in the main lobby of the hospital and Women’s Health Center, and we also receive numerous requests for patients who want something to hold."
Many of the materials the sewing group uses are donated from other volunteers or are from the Thrift Korral Resale Boutique. Funds to help supply the rest of their items come from the Grossmont Hospital volunteer auxiliary board, which allocated $6,000 for this year’s projects.
In addition to the sewing group, Sharp Grossmont’s quilting group provides lap quilts for patients in the Oncology and Palliative Care units.
"This is my fun," said Gahan as she masterfully sewed the head of a hand puppet. "It’s a great way to help people and to do what I love most."