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Missoula doctors band together to help comfort cancer patients

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Posted at 1:19 PM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-09 18:36:39-05

MISSOULA — Michelle Weaver Knowles was diagnosed with breast cancer 21 years ago, four years after losing her sister to the disease.

Now she is a breast patient navigator and works with patients with hereditary cancer.

"It's just fun to be part of the team and know what its like to be on the other side being a patient too," said Weaver Knowles.

On Saturday, Weaver Knowles joined a group of local doctors to make mastectomy pillows.

The pillows offer comfort in more ways than one. They rest under the arm to prevent irritating any surgical incisions.

Employees from Missoula Surgical Associates and Montana Cancer held a sewing party at Vicki's Quilts Down Under. Leann Gooley says the organizations give these pillows to patients after undergoing care.

"It gives them relief, stops rubbing, stops pressure, and is just a nice support for them," said Gooley.

She noticed they were running low, so the groups came together to sew and fill the "helping hearts."

"Had I known that my nurse, my MA, the secretary that checked me in the office, my doctor, helped make these just to provide an extra layer of comfort is super meaningful and just shows the passion of the caregivers in the community," said Weaver Knowles.

When Weaver Knowles was undergoing treatment, Margie Menendez was her radiation oncologist.

"It's very rewarding. It can be challenging sometimes because I know its tough for the patients and we all just come together to get them through it," said Menendez.

The event will provide pillows to patients for the year.