Huggie Hearts Volunteer Group Delivers Heart Pillows to Cardiac Patients

FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 5, 2010) — Shell Point Retirement Community is home to more than 2,200 residents, and most of those residents participate in one or more of the various volunteer groups on property.  One such group is the Huggie Hearts volunteer group in which Shell Point residents hand-sew pillows for cardiac patients in Southwest Florida, distributed by Gulf Coast Medical Center.  Recently, the 13,000th pillow was created and will be on display in the Gulf Coast Medical Center to honor the many years and pillows that have been given to cardiac patients.

(Left to right)
Susan Crowe, Director, Volunteer Resources and Auxiliary Development for Gulf Coast Medical Center
Nancy Stanfield, Volunteer President, Gulf Coast Medical Center Auxiliary
Judy Bolton, Shell Point resident
June Schneider, RN, Nursing Director, SPCM, VAN for Gulf Coast Medical Center

The pillows allow patients to have something to hug as they recuperate from heart surgery.   Coughing to expel fluid is very important and hugging the pillow to the chest is very helpful.  The fact that the pillow displays the shape of a heart is a wonderful bonus as the volunteers send loving wishes on to patients with each pillow.

“The patients who receive pillows are so excited to know that volunteers work diligently to give them a thoughtful gift to help them through a tough ordeal,” said Judy Bolton, Shell Point resident and current Huggie Hearts Group Leader.  “I recently met a resident at Shell Point who still has her Huggie Heart pillow from 20 years ago.  It has meant so much to her, and she still remembers the great feeling she had in receiving that gift.”

Shell Point resident Hebe Henderson started Huggie Hearts at Shell Point in 1989.  Reaching the 13, 000th heart pillow has been a very rewarding process for the resident volunteers as well as the heart patients of Lee County.  Shell Point residents Janet Plume, Martha Ryckman, Winona Whitehead, Virginia Brown, and Betty Muench assisted Judy Bolton with the stuffing of this memorable pillow. Shell Point resident Peg Gosser also participates regularly with the group, but was not available when this group met to create the 13,000th pillow.

Gulf Coast Medical Center is part of the Lee Memorial Health System, which offers a large and diverse volunteer program in areas of healthcare and administration.  “Volunteering is a gift to the community, and the rewards are profound,” said Susan Crowe, Director of Volunteer Resources & Auxiliary Development for Gulf Coast Medical Center.  “The Huggie Hearts program is a wonderful example of how volunteering can truly make a difference in the lives of others.  To know that 13,000 pillows have been created by this amazing group of volunteers to make a patient’s stay at the hospital a little easier makes me see how generous and kind strangers can be to one another.”

Shell Point Retirement Community is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community located in Fort Myers just off Summerlin Road, two miles before the Sanibel causeway. Shell Point has received national accreditation from CARF-CCAC, and is a nationally recognized leader in the retirement industry.  The community offers retirement living in a resort-style environment with an 18-hole championship golf course, deep water boating access, and recreational and fitness facilities.  To learn more about Shell Point, visit us at or call 1-800-780-1131.

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