A warm feeling in Israel
Unique patient request leads to launch of program for breast cancer patients in Israel.
Having undergone radiation therapy daily for five weeks, a breast cancer patient in Jerusalem made a request to her nurse. Could she and the other women have something warm to wrap themselves as they walked half-naked from the changing room to the radiation bed? That led to the Pink Scarves program being launched at the Hadassah Medical Center last year, which now is being expanded to cover five other cancer treatment centers.
“It was a simple request conveyed to us by our medical representatives. Yet it is so important when you think about it from the patient’s point of view,” says Amira Lidar, Public Affairs Leader of Roche Israel. “Since launching in July last year we have distributed 300 scarves and we have decided to keep the Pink Scarves program ongoing as women with breast cancer undergoing radiation will feel this need. The radiation centers are a cold place as the women keep mentioning again and again.”
She adds: “Actually, the scarves are more than just that. They are larger, almost the size of a blanket and colored pink to give the whole treatment area a sense of warmth and optimism.”
A simple program
The program works in a simple way. Every woman that starts a radiation series receives a note from the technician who does the preparatory work before radiotherapy actually starts, inviting her to pick up a small present. They receive a bag with the scarf and a card with information and links to the Israeli Cancer Association website, the Roche website and the website of the Roche Reaches Out program.
This simple act of Roche and the medical center has been graciously accepted by the women undergoing treatment who had to bear the cold in the radiation rooms otherwise. “It feels so good that somebody is thinking of us and something is keeping us warm in the cold,” a patient wrote in to say. Another stated: “This is an excellent solution to both protect our modesty and privacy as well as keeping us warm.”
The program has also been widely felicitated at a regional nurses meeting, on the website of the medical center and in local news channels.
“We appreciate your quick response to the request of the medical staff and our patients. We are all moved and hope to continue the project in the interest of our patients,” says Ruth Radiano, the head nurse, who originally thought of the project.