Hometown Hero - Eliska Ortego

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 7:40 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a group of hospitals is honoring one of their volunteers. It was six years ago when Eliska Ortego was talking with her sister in Arizona about making mastectomy kits for breast cancer patients. She took the idea to her club, Calcasieu Quilters. They’ve been making and donating them to patients ever since.

“In the kit are the 2 heart shaped pillows,” said Ortego. “They’re for under the arm.This pillow is to protect the surgery site from the seat belts.”

There are other handmade items in the kits with different purposes.

Lanie Adams’ mother had breast cancer surgery. She’s a nurse at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and has seen first-hand how patients react to the homemade post surgery kits.

“Tears go to their eyes,” said Adams. “They always ask in clinic when they come in after surgery, they ask, who did this? Where did you get it from. When you tell them that it was just a group of ladies who selflessly did everything they could to help these women they don’t even know, it’s life changing for them.”

“My sister has since passed with cancer. Not breast cancer, but with cancer. So it makes me close to her.”

Eliska and her fellow quilters love doing what they do, but they say they’d really like the need to go away with a cure for breast cancer.

“And I’ll be so glad when it ends. That means it’s not needed. It’ll end when it’s not needed and that’ll be a good thing.”

The breast surgery comfort kits are available at no charge from Lake Charles Memorial, Christus Ochsner St. Patrick and West Calcasieu Cameron hospitals.

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