Women who are especially self conscious after having breast removal surgery have been given a chance to disguise their drain bags with a personalised holder.

Palmerston North's Inner Wheel Club donated the bags in a bid to help patients with their recovery. They also gifted calico dolls to the hospital's Children's Ward at a presentation last week.

Clinical nurse specialist, Breast Care Cheryl MacDonald said the bags were meaningful to those who had undergone surgery.

"These bags are always so well received. It can be a very stressful and upsetting time, and something as simple as being provided with these bags, can make a world of difference to them in regards to independence, safety and confidence."


The colourful bags have been carefully designed so patients no longer have to carry drain bags in their hands. The club says this will also help in keeping the drains hidden.

The calico dolls have been left blank and are going to be used as a tool allowing medical professionals the ability to demonstrate procedures. Children will also be able to decorate and personalise the dolls.

Children's Ward charge nurse Tracy Stone said the dolls were more than just toys. "They are tools we can use to make their time here easier, and to distract them from the stress they may be feeling. Being blank, children can put their own personal touches on the dolls, making each doll a unique creation that displays the personality of the child."

Inner Wheel Club president Pat Caves said she was overwhelmed by the support and generosity of her fellow club members.

"We had sewing bees, cutting bees, stuffing bees - the ladies loved it. We could chat while we were doing it and they felt good knowing they were doing something for the community."

The idea for the project arose after Ms MacDonald spoke to the club's meeting in July last year.

"We could see there was a need in our community - the bags are double-sided and mean these women can have both hands free. Some women have to put theirs in a pillowcase or something so these bags make it much safer."

Inner Wheel clubs across New Zealand had previously donated calico dolls and Mrs Caves thought it would be a nice gesture for local children.

"They can be used to distract the kids from what's going on, it's good for a doctor to show where a bandage may go or a nurse to show where a line might go in. They are for the kids to keep and they can draw the face on and dress them how they like."

Mrs Caves also gave a special mention to the Menz Shed.

"I approached them and they were more than happy to cut out templates for the dolls - they were great."