Nurses Create Comfort Bags for Chemo Patients

Barb Ehrhardt gave Sheri Lewis a gift she would never forget.

By Rosie Ecker

Just two months after her annual mammography test came back clear, UC Medical Center nurse Sheri Lewis noticed a peanut-sized lump on her breast. A single mom with two teenagers, she was scared and knew something wasn’t quite right.

She immediately began chemotherapy at the UC Health Physicians Office–Clifton.

“I wanted it to be done with, this chapter in my life,” said Sheri.

On the first day of treatment, she packed her own bag with a blanket and some snacks to keep her comfortable during the several-hour therapy session.

When she returned to work the following Monday, her colleague and “second-mom,” Barb Ehrhardt, had put a gift on her desk. It was a handmade “comfort chemo bag” that Sheri could use for her remaining chemo treatments.

Though Sheri didn’t know what exactly would make her feel better, Barb did. Barb’s daughter was going through the same chemotherapy journey.

In the bag was a fleece blanket to keep Sheri warm, a padded seatbelt cover to protect her chemotherapy port, lip moisturizer, hard candies for her changing taste buds, a note pad and pencil, a pillow for comfort, and a water bottle for hydration.

The contents of the bag—obviously filled with close attention to detail—made Sheri feel like someone knew exactly what she might need.

Sheri, now finished with chemo and grateful for Barb and others who make comfort chemo bags for UC Health patients, chooses to pay it forward. She now works with Barb and the Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator to identify patients in need and delivers five chemo comfort bags each month.

The two colleague-friends aren’t able to keep the tears at bay as they re-tell their story, but each seem to fully understand the gift they’ve been given.

If you would like to learn how you can support Barb, Sheri and the comfort chemo bag project, email barbehrhardt42@gmail.com

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