Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Daughter delivers comfort bags to cancer patients to honor her mom

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“For me to be a home base for her and for Avera to be a home base, it gives her that comfort at a time that she’s scared,” said Amber Reed.

Reed’s mom Peggy was misdiagnosed five years ago with a rare blood cancer at another facility. After they learned about the misdiagnosis in May, Reed and her family searched for a place that could offer her mom what she needed. That place happened to be in their own backyard – the Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls.

“There is chemotherapy involved amongst other things and she’s trying to get through some of that five years of misdiagnosis because the treatments are so different. But the team here at Avera is right on. They know what to do. I mean how lucky can you be? They treat her as a person, not just a patient but as a person. And there were individuals on the staff that were bringing her comfort care items. They didn’t have to do that and it just changed the perspective of her entire day. That smile on her face went such a long day,” said Reed.

Amber saw how much care items, such as soft socks and adult coloring books, meant to her mom – so she started collecting items that would offer other patients comfort during whatever challenge they may be facing.

“Now we have 66 bags full to deliver to 66 people so they just smile that day and feel a big hug. I don’t know what it was but when my mom good soft socks, it was like Christmas morning,” said Reed.

“Coloring has gotten to be a big thing in the mindfulness movement and I think it’s a great distraction,” said Lynne Hunter, oncology social worker at the Avera Cancer Institute.

Hunter says these care bags mean the world to patients.

“I think when you’re going through a cancer diagnosis with a family member, you feel so powerless. And so I think this is a way for Amber to take control of the situation and do something in honor of her mom,” said Hunter.

“We’ve got things like hard candies. People are going through chemo, they get that metal taste in their mouth and sometimes they’re not allowed to eat or drink anything. So this is something for them to suck on. For somebody that is so uncertain about her future and their health, she has used the word – she feels safe when she’s here at Avera. I think we’re really blessed to be living in Sioux Falls and to have such a fantastic facility to take care of your loved ones because when it comes down to it, you’re kind of at their mercy of what they can do for you, what they can do for your family, what they can do for my mom,” said Reed.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.