Former patient teaches granddaughters the spirit of giving
Wed, 12/20/2017 - 14:59
Twins and patient

Darlene Doherty, a cancer survivor turned volunteer at UofL Brown Cancer Center, is passing on her legacy of giving and talent for crafting to her granddaughters, 9-year-old twins Sophia and Olivia Barondeau.

Fifteen years ago Dr. Donald Miller, a medical oncologist and former director of UofL Brown Cancer Center, cured Doherty of melanoma. She now gives back to UofL Brown Cancer Center by making head and neck scarves for cancer patients.

Her granddaughters recently delivered handmade “pajama pant” pillows to patients with help from the cancer center staff in the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center. The pillows are made from the legs of pajama pants. Doherty taught them how to sew, and using pajama pants makes it easy so the girls only have to sew the ends.

Each pillow has a unique label created by the twins that says “You are S.O. sew ___” and fills in the blank with words like strong and beautiful. The label is a play on words and the girls’ first initials: S for Sophia and O for Olivia.

The girls asked their friends, family and school for donations of pajama pants. They also found some at Goodwill. They also received a 10 lb. box of Poly-Fil® as a donation. 

Their mother, Angela, said they are learning so much from this experience. “They’re learning how to sew, how to write in cursive (which they don’t teach in school anymore), public speaking skills, and the importance of giving back to our community.”

They’ve also donated pillows to the Oldham County Humane Society.

During their visit, they also ran into Dr. Miller, who recognized Doherty right away. The twins thanked Dr. Miller for saving their grandmother’s life all those years ago.


Sophia, left, and Olivia Barondeau handmade pajama pant pillows to deliver to patients at UofL Brown Cancer Center.

Olivia Barondeau, Angela Barondeau, Sophia Barondeau, Darlene Doherty and Dr. Donald Miller.

Darlene Doherty, second from right, introduces her granddaughters to Dr. Donald Miller, who saved her life 15 years ago when she was a melanoma patient at UofL Brown Cancer Center. From left are: Olivia Barondeau, Angela Barondeau, Sophia Barondeau, Darlene Doherty and Dr. Donald Miller.