Pillow donation brings comfort to cancer patients
A donated mount of 180 soft pillows arrived at the Sandra J. Schulze American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Rochester on Wednesday, giving heart — and comfort — to the cancer patients staying at the residence.
Soft, plush pillows help when you return to bed after not feeling well at 3 a.m. — or when you're coming back from radiation, said Kim Nelson, of Grand Marais.
"Once you go through cancer, you realize that there's a lot of good hearts in the world," Nelson said as she looked at the pillows.
The pillows arrived at Hope Lodge through a chain of events triggered by Fraser Construction in Rochester.
Fraser, each year, divides its employees into teams and gives each team a pot of money to create "Give Back" projects.
Hope Lodge manager Jammie McGuire said employees from Fraser called several weeks ago and asked if there was a particular need. Hope Lodge asked for DVD players. About 25 of those were dropped off, and the two Fraser teams had a little money left over.
They asked Hope Lodge what could be done with the remaining money and were told pillows were needed — but they must by hypoallergenic and washable.
The Fraser workers sought out My Pillow Inc., of Chanhassen, to see if the company would match their donation; they had enough money left to buy three pillows.
Fraser employee Maggie Alexander told about 40 Hope Lodge guests, their caregivers, volunteers and others gathered in the home-away-from-home's cafeteria Wednesday that she originally asked for just three pillows.
A donation gave Fraser enough money for four. So Alexander called My Pillow again, hoping My Pillow would match the new number.
"How many pillows do you need?" came the question from the other end of the line.
"Well, 180," she said.
"Why don't we just give you 180 pillows?" the man said.
Hope Lodge got enough pillows to replace pillows in every one of its 60 rooms. The pillows were donated by the Lindell Foundation, which was created by My Pillow inventor and CEO Mike Lindell.
"That's what keeps me going, is to help people," he said before the donation. "I just feel like I'm blessed. God's got my calling — to help people."
"It's remarkable, the generosity of everyone," said Fraser owner Rick Penz. "And it's awesome to see."
Fraser employee Dan "Jake" Jacobs said Fraser had installed footings, sewer lines and water lines at Hope Lodge during its most-recent expansion. So it was an easy decision to pick Hope Lodge as his team's focus.
Over the coming few days, each Hope Lodge guest has a specified time to exchange his or her room pillow with the new, donated My Pillow.
But Nelson won't need one, at least for very long.
That's because she celebrated a milestone Wednesday. She finished her treatment for endometrial cancer and will be heading home to Grand Marais.