Someone 2 Know: Conkerr Cancer - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Someone 2 Know: Conkerr Cancer

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Those who sew, can see the finished product before the first stitch; a group of northern Nevada women see smiles. They meet once a month and for a few hours they hunker down and sew, clip, flip, press and fold yards and yards of fabric. The finished product? Pillow cases. Every month the sewing club strives to make 125 brand new, bright, fun, clean, child-inspired pillow cases to give away to sick kids in all area hospitals.

"The kids need something that they can hold onto; something that's theirs. The hospital can be sterile sometimes, so it's nice for them to have something that's kind of fun," explains LaVonne Johnson, who is one of the sewing club's coordinators. She picked up sewing as a kid, but it has brought her new meaning. Lavonne believes sewing saved her life.

Lavonne's son, Patrick, died unexpectedly in 2001. "My doctor actually told me that day that I was going to die if I didn't, you know, do something. I told him I did want to die and he said, 'No, you don't. That's not fair to your other son.'" That is when LaVonne started sewing again. It is also when LaVonne came across another mother's story.

Cindy Kerr's son was diagnosed with cancer in 2002. She made him a pillow case for the hospital. She also made one for his roommate. Pretty soon every kid in the oncology unit at their Philadelphia hospital had one. Sadly, Cindy's son lost his battle with cancer, but she continued on and started the now international ConKerr Cancer non-profit.

Lavonne and two other women, Mary Herrall and Debbie Barnum, joined in the effort and started the northern Nevada chapter of ConKerr Cancer. Mary, who is a breast cancer survivor, says, "It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done and I've done a lot of charity work."

The women plan months out. In fact, right now they are buying fabric for Christmas. They spend some of their own money buying fabric, but they often get donations. They all volunteer their time. What keeps them going is knowing their creations will help a wide range of sick children. "Any serious illness; anything that the nurses thinks. When the child needs a bright spot." A simple gift to brighten not just their rooms, but their spirits.

If you would like to get involved or make a donation, contact the club at

Written by Kristen Remington
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