Sharon Regional Health System - Dedicated to caring for our community

Sharon Regional Cancer Care Center
starts new Dignity Robe program

Colorful Dignity Robes for female patients who require a gown when receiving radiation therapy are proudly displayed by Arlene Segar, center, Marsha Driscoll, left, and Jessi McCloskey, chief radiation therapist at Sharon Regional’s Cancer Care Center. Arlene started a Dignity Robe program two years ago in Monroeville to honor a friend who died or breast cancer. Jessi is director/coordinator of a new Sharon Regional-based Dignity Robe program and Marsha is a local volunteer.

Please call 724-983-5921 for information

Sharon Regional’s Cancer Care Center has started a new Dignity Robe program designed to benefit all female patients who require a gown when receiving radiation treatment at the Center, 2320 Highland Rd., Hermitage. Its main goal is to see that women receive these robes, or gowns, as a gift from other women.

Jessi McCloskey, chief radiation therapist at Sharon Regional’s Cancer Care Center, became aware of a similar program in the Pittsburgh area in October and is now the director/coordinator of the new Sharon Regional-based Dignity Robe program."I just loved the idea and started asking for volunteers within the Health System," Jessi recalls. "I was pleasantly surprised to find that the information was being spread throughout Mercer County. My phone was ringing off the hook with volunteers to cut, sew, launder, and press fabric. We had our first meeting in early November with great response and robes are now coming back completed."

Arlene Seger, of Monroeville, started the project in April 2006. She and helpers have made about 1,350 since then. They felt a need for a better robe based on inadequate design of basic hospital gowns used for radiation therapy. They designed a "dignity robe" with strategically placed Velcro.

Women in Pennsylvania, California, Las Vegas, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, and Florida have groups working on the special robes.

Dennis Ulewicz, M.D., director of Radiation Oncology at Sharon Regional’s Cancer Care Center, believes the robes have a positive impact on cancer patients. "Everything we can possibly do to help patients maintain a sense of pride and dignity as well as their overall well-being impacts on how well they tolerate their radiation treatments," Dr. Ulewicz says. "Patients need to get the maximum benefits from all therapies."

The local program has "kits" at the Cancer Care Center ready to be signed out. A kit contains pre-cut fabric, Velcro and instructions on how to sew together. Jessi says the program will continue to make kits for the volunteers who want to focus their efforts on sewing. The group will be meeting in January to cut the patterns out and make the kits so it has a constant supply.

Funding for non-profit program comes from a few private donations along with a $2,500 grant from the Susan G. Koman for the Cure Foundation and a $1,000 grant from the Shenango Valley Foundation. Also, a special Dignity Robe Fund Account has been started through Sharon Regional’s Development Fund.

For more information or to participate in the Sharon Regional program, please call Jessi McCloskey at 724-983-5921. Donations can be sent to her in care of the Dignity Robe Fund, Cancer Care Center, 2320 Highland Rd., Hermitage, PA 16148. Checks should be payable to Sharon Regional Health System.