Patient care expressed through pillows, bags, aprons and more

Mary Ann MillerTMC Auxiliary Sewing Group Service Chair

Mary Ann Miller
TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group
Service Chair

As a retired registered nurse, Mary Ann Miller is used to taking care of patients at the bedside.  A desire to “get out of the house and do something” has allowed her to continue helping patients – but in a different capacity that is equally rewarding for her.

Ten years ago, she came to TMC to interview for a spot with the TMC Auxiliary.  “They asked me if I liked to sew.  I said, ‘I love to sew.’  And that was it,” she said.

Miller joined the TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group, and eventually became the service chair.  “When I started, the group mainly made pillows and walker bags.”  As Miller got involved in other things around campus, the list of items they would produce grew and grew. 

“I’m a sucker for not being able to say no,” Miller laughed.  “People come to us with ideas of things that could be helpful for patients in the hospital, and I can’t say no.  So, we find a way to make it happen.”

An example of a walker bag made by the TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group

An example of a walker bag made by the TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group

And make it happen they do.  The sheer number of items they crank out is quite impressive.  In 2012, they made 1400 heart pillows for cardiac and chest surgery patients, almost 500 walker bags for orthopaedic patients, more than 280 bean bags to help hold tubing down for infants in the NICU, almost 50 bereavement items for Labor and Delivery, and close to 50 stuffed socks to be used as position pillows in Pediatric Therapies. 

Among the other things they make: Foley bag covers for Urology patients, crib and bassinette sheets for the NICU, neck position pillows for the NICU and Outpatient Therapy, isolette covers for the NICU, and busy aprons for dementia patients.  “These vests are really great because they give the patients something to keep their body and mind active.  They have zippers and buttons on them.  They have a little toy in them, and even a little patch of soft fabric that can remind them of their cat or dog,” Miller said.

TMC Auxiliary Sewing Group

TMC Auxiliary
Sewing Group

The group has grown to about two dozen women who meet from 7 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday in the Arizona Building.  They’re easy to find.  Just listen for the humming of the sewing machines, and laughter.

“Most of us are elderly, and the only people we will see all week – are here.  It’s a bit of a social hour,” she smiles.  “It makes me feel good that I can do something for other people, while doing what I love to do.”


  1. Anonymous says:

    Great job sewing group Diana Bergen

  2. Leah Metz says:

    Love the heart pillows! Thanks You all!

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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