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Western Pennsylvania has a strong tradition of neighborhood, personal and community commitment. Our pride in pulling together goes far beyond supporting our deep-rooted sports teams. 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference honors the individuals that are making a difference in people's lives on the ground level and reminding us we are all truly a part of each other's lives.This special series, supported by UPMC, will highlight, honor and celebrate Western Pennsylvanians who are unsung heroes daring to make a difference to others in our community.00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770c8000000000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770ca000000000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770cc000090.5 WESA PA listening area counties:Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland, Butler, Armstrong, Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Fayette, Indiana00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770cd0000This project is made possible by a generous contribution from UPMC.

Mrs. Claus Club Delivers The Spirit Of Giving Year-Round

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Mark Nootbaar
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90.5 WESA
Mrs. Claus Club of the North Hills founder Jeana Watenpool in her home where she puts together the comfort baskets that she gives to cancer patients.

For some receiving treatment for cancer, Mrs. Claus doesn’t just visit at Christmas.

“Our mission statement is to bring comfort, hope, encouragement and love to the (person) who has been recently diagnosed with cancer,” said Jeana Watenpool, founder of the Mrs. Claus Club of the North Hills.

The Mrs. Claus Club, which delivers gifts minus the sleigh year-round, has given out more than 500 comfort baskets since it was formed seven years ago. In the last seven months alone it has delivered more than 70 baskets. 

Club members submit the names of people beginning chemotherapy, then Watenpool and a few others club members take the baskets to patients.

The baskets include items such as mouthwash and lozenges to help with the bad taste that often lingers in a chemo patient’s mouth, cream to help fight of the chemo-related dry skin, a cancer cookbook, a journal, tea and much more.

“The basket is simply a token,” said Gerri Morris, who received a basket after treatment for pancreatic cancer. “Jeana’s ministry is to give you hope, to give you comfort, to help you get through something that you don’t know how you are going to get through.”

Along with presenting the basket, Watenpool talks with patients about their treatments, how they are doing and offers to pray with them.

“There were three other people in the room that day and I’m sure that they heard her praying over me and I bet that they were touched in some way as well,” Morris said.

Morris’ cancer is currently in remission, but she still carries the inspirational card that Watenpool gave her at the hospital room visit in the fall of 2015.

Watenpool, who is a knitter, enlists the help of other knitters to make “prayer shawls.”  The knitters pray for the recipient as they make the small blankets.

“We always like to remind our patients … that cancer does not define them,” Watenpool said. “And we always try to give them hope that they will beat this disease.”

GerriMorris.mp3
Listen to more from basket recipient Gerri Morris.