April 2013 donations go to St. John's Hospital

We have now donated nearly 400 items. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Wow! Isn’t that amazing and wonderful?!

Our fourth donation of 67 hats, scarves, shawls and other items went to St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood. It is part of the HealthEast Cancer Care Center. Team Yarn member Kelli McCully put us in touch with this hospital, as her father-in-law works there.

“I can’t even tell you how much the ladies appreciate this,” said Nancy Welty, a patient navigator at St. John’s. “They get all emotional.”

She added, “You guys are angels. We really appreciate this.”

Even in the summer the heads of those fighting cancer get cold. Wigs often scratch the heads, Nancy pointed out, and so patients wear hats year-round. Some even sleep in them.

The items we donated will be placed in baskets in the two waiting rooms frequented by cancer patients at St. John’s. “They can take as many as they’d like,” noted Nancy.

One volunteer makes prayer shawls that are given both to cancer patients and to their family members. (Would Team Yarn members like to focus on prayer shawls at some point? Perhaps this fall?)

As the snow began to fall outside, Maria Wood stated, “You guys are bringing some sunshine to us today.”

Our donations will join those in this basket in the waiting room.
Amy carries in a box full of your handmade items.
St. John's is located in Maplewood.
Look at these gorgeous items that are sure to bring comfort.


One thing that sets St. John’s apart is its patient navigator system. Each new cancer patient is assigned to a patient navigator at the start to coordinate a path through treatment. The Patient Navigators are supportive guides for both patients and family members. Their role is similar to that of a case manager at other hospitals.

Navigators are oncology nurses with added training in patient/family education and services. “We’re a familiar face,” explained Nancy.

Patient Navigators assist by:
• Making appointments with your care team (specialists, oncologists, etc.); combining appointments into one visit when possible
• Scheduling tests and treatments
• Answering questions and explaining medical information in a way that's easy to understand
• Suggesting resources or services
• Helping patients find ways to take good care of themselves

“We are a resource,” said Maria. They might help with appointments,  food assistance, and transportation to the hospital.
Patient navigators Nancy Welty (left) and Maria Wood.

We met two of the Patient Navigators during our visit.

Nancy Welty, RN — Nancy Welty is a Patient Navigator for breast cancer patients. She completed a bachelor's of science degree in communications disorders and an associate's degree in nursing at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. As a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, Nancy is interested in women's health issues and clinical research in breast cancer. She also serves as a facilitator of a breast cancer support group and a kids' support group.

Maria Wood, RN, BSN, OCN — Maria Wood is a Patient Navigator for cancer patients. She received a bachelor's of science degree in nursing from Clarke College as well as a certification as an oncology nurse. Maria has worked in many academic inpatient and outpatient settings, with a focus on hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplant. Most recently, she worked in an outpatient treatment area focusing on solid tumors. Maria is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society, and her interests include patient education, cancer survivorship and a focus on patients with head and neck cancers.

Cancer Care services are offered at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul and Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury. Health East Cancer Care offer both inpatient and outpatient services, including:
    • Leading-edge diagnostic equipment
   •  Radiation therapy
    • Chemotherapy/hormonal therapies
    • Surgery

Specialty centers and services at HealthEast include:
    • HealthEast CyberKnife Center
    • HealthEast Breast Care
    • HealthEast Prostate Care

St. John’s recognizes that cancer can have staggering effects on families. And so, at HealthEast, care doesn't stop with patients. It extends to their families and loved ones with classes and support groups, personal counseling, genetic counseling and nutritional advice.
The girls pose by Lucy at the front door to St. John's.
Kelli looks through a bag full of handmade items just before we donate them.
Amy chats with Nancy (left) and Maria during our visit on May 1.
As we leave, we shiver in the cold -- It started snowing! On the first day of May! What a spring we're having!!


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