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'Sewing' seeds of comfort: High school senior begins charitable work to help comfort kids



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Camden Burk (right), founder of Mom's Love You Pillows, helps Abby Smiles start her pillow by tying the corners first. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
July 14, 2010 - As their parents listened to an early Sunday morning sermon, the younger members of Lake Orion United Methodist Church were busy cutting, tying and stuffing specially embroidered pillows destined for the hands of children whose mothers have breast cancer.

The pink and purple fleece pillows are the product of a nonprofit charitable organization called Mom's Love You Pillows, founded by Lake Orion High School senior and LOUMC member Camden Burk.

The idea for Mom's Love You Pillows was inspired during a sleepover by the children of a family friend.

The friend, who had been cancer-free for two years, was having a newly discovered lump tested.

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The growth was benign, but the event served as a reminder of the fear and anxiety children of breast and other cancer patients experience when their parent is fighting for his or her life.

"Watching my mom and her friends help each other whenever one of them is sick, or in the worst case, fighting breast cancer, I've learned that taking care of each others kids is their first priority," explains Burk. "The kids come in the house holding onto the things that bring them the most comfort, like their favorite pillows. I thought 'Wouldn't it be nice if every kid who had to be away from his or her mom because of breast cancer had a pillow to help them feel better?'"

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2.5 million women have a history of breast cancer. If each of these women had only one child, that would mean at least 2.5 million children worried about or have been separated from their mom for surgery and medical treatments.

The pillows made by the Sunday school students are especially important because they're part of a donation request from the American Cancer Society for 400 pillows to be distributed during its Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk this October.

"I was really surprised when the American Cancer Society requested so many pillows," said Burk. "We had to start fundraising right away to earn money for supplies so that we could their fill order, not to mention finding enough volunteers to make pillows. My sister made pillows at her birthday party as a craft, my teammates on Varsity Cheerleading made some during Relay for Life, and now the church has volunteered to help during Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at the end of July."

In addition to donating assembled pillows, Mom's Love You Pillows also sells pillow making kits that can be used as philanthropic projects for groups like Girl Scouts and sports teams.

The funds raised by kit sales are then used for pillow donations. To date, MYLP has given away or sold 100 pillows and has raised half of the $2,500 needed for the ACS 400 pillow order.

To learn more about Mom's Love You Pillows and its mission to provide gifts that promote feelings of comfort and closeness to the children of breast cancer patients, visit www.momsloveyoupillows.com or email loveyoupillows@aol.com.

- Submitted

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