Angel Pillow Project Sews Weekly for a Good Cause

By Noelle Sciarini on February 11th, 2014 / Comments

It all started with a diagnosis, and a pillow. Sabrina Mayhew, wife of the Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, was told she had breast cancer in 2011. After a double mastectomy, she received a simple heart-shaped pillow to help her recover.

“The pillow truly improved my recovery and was invaluable as I healed from my breast cancer treatments,” Mayhew said. “I actually continue to use my pillow today…It’s been by my side and helped me through some really rough times. If fact, the pillow helped me so much during my recovery that I wanted to share it with others.”

Thus, the Angel Pillow Project was born and Mayhew began to make more of these comforting pillows for other breast cancer patients in the Detroit area, at no cost to the patients. Eventually, Mayhew decided to step things up and reached out to Karen Buscemi, the founder of the Detroit Garment Group Guild, a non-profit devoted to providing education and opportunities for Detroit’s fashion community. Buscemi suggested adding some style to the pillows and brought in members of the local fashion community to submit pillow designs.

“Angel Pillow Project is a great cause that helps breast cancer survivors in a very different way than most foundations, which I thought was interesting and fun,” Buscemi explains.  “What better way to put a Detroit stamp on this project than to reach out to our local designers and sewers to create pillows to comfort others?”

The plan is gather a group of designers and sewing enthusiasts at Gilda’s Club every other Monday to make pillows. The first session took place on February 4th, where in addition to making pillows participants signed up to submit design ideas for their own special pillow for breast cancer survivors that will eventually be displayed in hospitals across Metro Detroit. Overall, event director Sherrie Handrinos said things are off to a great start.

“We had over 50 people RVSP [to the first session], and we made 164 pillows in just 2 hours!” Handrinos said. “Everyone was so kind and wonderful to spend their afternoon helping us make more pillows than we have ever been able to make in one day! I’m really excited to see the individual designs each person comes up with as well!”

For more information about the Angel Pillow Project, Detroit Garment Group Guild, please visit their websites:


About the Author

Noelle Sciarini

Noelle Sciarini is a recent graduate from Michigan State University. Now an Ann Arbor resident, she fills her spare time with reading, writing, and the occasional road race. Find her on Twitter: @NoelleSci.