A mum-of-two has been getting creative to make life a little easier for women facing life-altering surgery.
Fitness instructor Stephanie Mullins, 27, has recently begun an effort to supply hospitals with surgical drain bags for use after mastectomies and breast reconstructions.
The bags, used to carry drains following surgery, are often in short supply, which Ms Mullins discovered after undergoing an operation herself in September.
Ms Mullins, who lives in Saltdean, said: ”I was lucky enough to actually get some donated for me but when I got mine, they told me ‘you’re lucky, these are our last two’.
“I asked if they were normally supplied and they said, ‘oh no, we only have what is donated to us’.
“They really helped – it just meant that when I was out doing things, I could use my hands, I didn’t have to carry them around.”
As a result, Ms Mullins and a group of friends have spent the last two months devoting time and money to making the bags, and asking others to do the same.
She said while hospital budgets are stretched, finding supplies like this was a simple way to make a big difference.
Despite being a sewing novice, she has used her talent for organisation, along with a little help from friends, to make rapid progress in a short period of time.
“So far we’ve made about 500. That’s enough to change 250 women’s lives,” she said.
Some of the handmade carry bags have been sent as far afield as the US and Canada. However, the work does not end there, as Stef has set some quite ambitious targets.
“Somehow, we got the number 3,000 as a target. I’d like to supply ten hospitals for a year, but to be honest, I’m quite happy just to keep going.”
Further fundraising events have been planned, including a family fun day at the Shoreham Centre on Saturday, May 27, from 1pm to 3pm, with proceeds going to fund materials, as all bags for donation must be made from new material.
Visit www.gofundme.com/love-stef for more information and updates about the campaign.