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ThedaCare receives donation to provide chemotherapy shirts for patients

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December 13, 2023

APPLETON – After he was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in his life, Jerry Stevens thought about how treatment might be different. 

“I was treated for colon cancer more than 25 years ago, and I understand things have probably changed quite a bit since then,” he said. “One thing I do know is how the disease can take a toll on people and their families.”

When a person begins treatment after a cancer diagnosis, they often have many questions about the process, including what clothing to wear during treatment. 

Lisa Kellnhauser, Coordinator of Cosmetology Services at ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center, said for chemotherapy appointments, the best clothing choice is a shirt that provides easy access to a port. 

A shirt with a zipper, snaps or Velcro on both sides of the neck allows team members to discreetly access the area while providing privacy for the patient. 

“We want to be sure patients feel comfortable as they begin treatment,” Kellnhauser said. “This type of shirt can help team members deliver the medicine with ease and allow the patient to focus on their main goal – their health.” 

To support the project, Kellnhauser reached out to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. Donations to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations help fund projects and programs on many levels across the system, enhancing the experience of patients, families and team members. The Foundation recommended connecting with Icon Marketing Inc., a local company that produces promotional products.

When Chad Romenesko, owner/president of Icon, received the call asking for support, he donated 1,000 shirts to be modified for patients to wear during chemotherapy treatment.

Stevens then donated to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations to supply all of the materials to modify the shirts.

“The shirts make it much easier when the nurses need to access the port,” Stevens said. “I wanted to do anything I could to help the patients and the care teams, making it better for everyone if possible.”

To modify the shirts, ThedaCare requested help from the community, asking sewers to volunteer their time and talents to modify the shirts by adding a zipper for easy access to the patient’s ports.

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