Chemo care pouches by Limerick stylist help women going through treatment

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Emma Mullane, Mungret, with one of her chemo care packs

Emma Mullane, Mungret, with one of her chemo care packs

IT’S a little pouch of entertainment and accessories — but most of all, it’s the warm feeling of knowing someone is looking out for you.

Chemo care pouches, put together by Mungret stylist Emma Mullane, aim to help brighten what is actually a gruelling experience for anyone suffering from cancer — chemotherapy.

The little gifts have women in mind. Emma, a stylist with accessories brand Stella & Dot, said that one of her American colleagues came up with the idea last year, and it became a new tradition within the company. Last year, Emma did 30 pouches.

This year? Fifty-eight packages. Some of the gifts included are treats, while  some serve an important purpose for cancer patients.

In each one there’s a lip balm, hand cream, warm fluffy socks, and ginger chews — which are often used to combat the nausea associated with the treatment.

The packs also contain a magazine, vouchers for Bellissimo and information on their wig clinic, as well as a notebook and a pencil — “a friend of mine who recently went through treatment told me that the chemo made her very forgetful, so it was great to have a notebook to write things down,” said Emma.

“I was totally bowled over by the response and the support. I made a point of asking for more help this year, to make sure we could include more,” she said.

McDermott’s Gala in Patrickswell kindly donated the magazines. Hanley’s Pharmacy ordered the lip balms and hand creams, while Von’s Health Store ordered the ginger chews, all of which were sold to Emma at cost price, “which helped enormously”.

She needed to buy 56 pairs of warm socks in Penneys, and management went “above and beyond”. After some fundraising, Emma received a €200 voucher for socks and accessories.

Last year, the cancer unit decided to gift the packs to women who came in for the first time to find out information about their impending chemo treatment. Emma suggested that they might distribute them similarly this year.

“I think each item will be helpful in some small way when it comes to any unfortunate symptoms they may experience during their treatment. But above everything, I feel it may just be something that makes them feel like they’re not alone.

"People do care what they are going through, people have been through it already and the packs have been put together with previous experiences in mind, experiences that have been imparted by people who survived and recovered,” she said.