They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Pillows4Parents came out of a need to provide a little comfort for parents of children undergoing treatment at Brenner Children’s Hospital. There are times when a child’s stay can go from overnight to several weeks and even months. Although the parent or friend who is always willing to stay with the child doesn’t really think about their own comfort during these trying times, I can tell you from experience, in the morning, our bodies remind us why we shouldn’t sleep in chairs and hospital benches. When Kate was in the hospital we purchased a memory foam mattress to place on the bench at night and we would shove it back in the closet during the day. In 2013, at one of the Mother’s Maker over events on the 9th floor, there was a mom who requested a foam mattress. This was the beginning:
The initial conversations between Laura Viers, Katye Oliver and myself soon exploded into a wealth of ideas. Laura quickly took the lead because she knew the Director of Bedding at Industries for the Blind in Winston Salem. After a few days of talking to numerous people, Laura had made contact with some very important and helpful people. In a matter of days, she had the first Pillows4Parents prototype. Katye worked on labeling and found some wonderful sponsors at Cornerstone that would embroider the pillows, then she and I took the sample to Brenner and presented it to the staff. We listened for suggestions and were thrilled that the idea was so well received. At this point, Laura was in full speed ahead. Here are her words how it all came to fruition:
“ With the help of a good friends Mendy Hunt and Mark “The Mattress Man “ Murray we developed the Pillows4 Parents Concept and ordered our first Prototype. Throughout this process I became very touched by both Mark and Mendy and they both were so excited about the idea and the driving force behind our cause through Kisses4Kate. In our second meeting Mark revealed to me that he himself was a survivor of childhood cancer and lost his vision due to radiation treatments he endured as a teenager. Mendy shared with me a very close friend whose child was currently undergoing treatment that had received our hospital gowns in our gowns4girls program. She told me about the child’s excitement in wearing something pretty. At that moment I realized that God had directed these events as though he were a GPS guiding our cause and dedication to make this project a realization. These were exactly the right people, in the right place and at the right time a perfect sequence of events. The work God does through our hands our hearts and in our minds is amazing."
We launched the Pillows4Parents project into production in just 2 months with the support of David Barnwell, Mark Murray and Mendy Hunt through Industries for the Blind. Our drive to bring comfort to the bedside of our parents and family members as they keep a watchful eye on their brave cancer warriors has been a true journey of love and passion for Laura and Kayte.