Community Service

The Division of Hematology and Oncology loves to give back. We are proud of our service to the community on a local and national level. Our faculty and staff have generously supported hurricane relief efforts, school supply drives, and the Ronald McDonald house. Our annual holiday project, Michigan Mittens for Chemotherapy Patients, has provided over 10,000 “mittens” stuffed with care and comfort items since the beginning of the program!

Michigan Mittens for Chemotherapy Patients Holiday Project

The “Mitten” project originated in 1995 after a young employee was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She wanted to give back to others who were also going through chemotherapy treatment and thus the Michigan Mittens Project was born. Today, that special person now works as an oncology nurse in a local infusion center. It was her giving heart that has led so many others to follow her lead to make the Michigan Difference for patients and staff alike.

Patient receives a Michigan Mitten
Patient receives a Michigan Mitten

Patients always respond with joy and a smile upon receiving a special “mitten”. Patients arrive for their chemotherapy appointment during the week prior to the Christmas holiday and receive a “Michigan Mitten” stuffed to the brim with a carefully curated selection of items. Comfort items may include tissues, lip balm, hand sanitizer, dental care kit, and unscented lotion. Just for fun, we add in coloring books & colored pencils, puzzle book, playing cards, hot chocolate, candy, gum, and chocolate. 
 

Employee volunteers stuff Michigan Mittens

All “Michigan Mittens” are made by a team of dedicated employee volunteers who plan and carry out this project year after year. There are fundraisers to organize, lunchtime fabric cutting parties, sewing, and shopping for the items to fill the mittens. Stuffing the mittens is the easiest part of the project. Once staging is complete, a team of 12-15 staff members stuff over 500 mittens in about 90 minutes!

Following the event each year, we receive numerous notes of gratitude from patients and families. One patient expressed their thanks by writing, "I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your mitten and special gifts! It really brightened my day! Your time and effort to put it together and think of the variety of items to include in it, is a blessing that I will not forget. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!” Messages like this one keep our team encouraged to fundraise and volunteer our time to make more “mittens” year after year!

Michigan Mitten

If you have an interest in supporting the Michigan Mittens Project, please see the DONATE link below. Please note that this special project is entirely volunteer-driven and totally funded by donations. It is cosponsored by the Rogel Cancer Center and the Division of Hematology and Oncology.

DONATE: Please visit the Michigan Mitten Project online giving page.

To learn more, please contact: michiganmitten@med.umich.edu.

We thank you in advance for your generosity and care for our Michigan Medicine community and patients.