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Donation to UPMC McKeesport will fund fabric purchase for dignity robes

| Sunday, April 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
Joyce Lebowitz, left, of the McKeesport Hospital Women's Committee, presents a check to Florence Matta for the hospital's cancer center while Geoffrey Clauss, director of patient and community services of the Jodie Matta-Dillinger Cancer Care Center looks on.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
McKeesport Hospital Women's Committee donated $2,000 for the purchase of fabric to make dignity robes, which president Shirley Orendi holds up.

When a woman is receiving radiation therapy to treat cancer, maintaining her privacy is important.

To meet the needs of the patients, a program began a couple years ago at UPMC McKeesport's cancer center involving dignity robes. The McKeesport Hospital Women's Committee recently donated $2,000 to purchase fabric for the project.

“The money will be used to purchase material so volunteers can make the robes for radiation oncology patients,” said Geoffrey Clauss, director of patient and community services for the Jodie Matta-Dillinger Cancer Care Center at the hospital.

There was a request to have 70 dignity robes made this year.

“We have 45 so far and we're only four months into the year,” Clauss said. “This donation will help us reach the goal.”

The dignity robes are less revealing than traditional patient robes. They have a unique tear-away pattern that uses Velcro-attached flaps, giving patients a more discreet and dignified treatment experience.

The Cancer Care Center at the hospital is named for Jodie Matta-Dillinger, who died from brain cancer. Her mother, Florence Matta, said the donation “makes me feel wonderful that they did that for the center.”

The center works with cancer patients to help boost their morale and to increase local survival rates. The wig room and participation in the dignity robe project are among ways the center hopes to achieve its goals.

On June 22 at 9:30 a.m., a Wheels of Hope event will begin at the Palisades to raise money for the Jodie Matta-Dillinger Cancer Care Center. For more information at that event, visit jmdf.net.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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