By NIMISHA KUMAR ‘22
This past February, fellow eagle Victoria Amaniera ’22 decided that she wanted to help the cancer patients currently receiving treatment at Richmond University Medical Center. Due to the pandemic, hospital environments have been drastically altered by the increasing fear of contracting COVID-19. Despite these uncertain times, cancer patients continue to receive their necessary treatments, which is already a difficult process.
Amaniera was determined to make a difference, knowing that on top of the pandemic’s devastating impacts, cancer patients also had to deal with the anxieties of possible exposure. In a thoughtful act, Amaniera sewed over fifty hand-made pillows to donate to cancer patients at RUMC. Her heart-shaped pillows have instilled hope at RUMC for patients who are especially vulnerable during this pandemic.
The Eagle’s Eye interviewed Amaniera about her perspective regarding the inspiring service she did for her local community.
EE: How did the idea to help cancer patients come across?
VA: My aunt is one of the directors there at the Cancer Center, and we were talking about how her cancer patients are doing and what it’s like there for them. So I asked her if there was anything I can do and she suggested I donate handmade pillows because sitting in the chemo chairs isn’t exactly comforting.
EE: What inspired you to donate handmade pillows?
VA: I was thinking about what could make cancer patients more comfortable. While they’re receiving treatment, if they’re sitting there with their arms on wooden chairs I can’t imagine that being comfortable so a pillow could help especially if they have IVs in.
EE: How did you learn to sew?
VA: I decided one day that I wanted to sew and Ms. Ledda, the fashion teacher at EHS, ended up teaching me. But I always felt like sewing was something that I wanted to do.
EE: The pillows you made are beautiful; why did you want to make them pillows specifically heart-shaped?
VA: The pillows are actually heart-shaped because they are made to be neck pillows. That was the design that the Cancer Center told me they wanted to use and so I made the pillows heart-shaped.
EE: Do you know what the response had been like from RUMC’s Center for Cancer Care?
VA: From the cancer patients themselves, they were overall really happy. Actually, they continue to use the pillows because each patient receives their own. Because it’s comforting. For people going out of their way to get cancer treatment, especially during COVID, it’s reassuring.
EE: I know that you plan to continue making more pillows to donate them to RUMC as needed. How did it feel after you made your first donation of handmade pillows?
VA: It felt really nice overall because I heard that it was helping a lot of people and it was reassuring to myself knowing that I was doing good things for other people.
EE: Has donating to those who are specifically vulnerable during this pandemic in any way changed your perspective?
VA: It definitely has. It has shown me that there are people who are forced into these situations such as going to a hospital, specifically going to a cancer center to get treatment, knowing that if they don’t they are risking their lives. This experience has taught me that a lot of things I take for granted, other people can’t.
EE: Do you know what you want to pursue after high school?
VA: I am actually planning on going into forensics.
Without a doubt, Amaniera will be an asset to the forensics field with her adaptability and creativity. We can all learn from her example in that the restrictions of the pandemic do not have to prevent us from making difference within our community. Amaniera put her sewing skills to work from home and was ultimately able to provide a sense of support for numerous cancer patients in a time they need support the most.