Cassidee’s Gold Award eases pain

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 12, 549,000 people currently in the United States have or are battling cancer. The process of fighting cancer is different for everyone, but overall is a painful experience. Even the little day to day things, like wearing a seatbelt, become painful.

When cancer patients have a port surgically installed to receive treatment, it is placed right where a seatbelt would go, causing discomfort. Girl Scout Cassidee S. from Bakersfield recognized that this was a common complaint shared by her best friend and her mother’s friends who all dealt with cancer. She decided to do something – Project Port Pillow was born.

Cassidee made hundreds of Port Pillows, which are 5-by-5-inch pillows with a Velcro strap that goes over the port to relieve the pain. These pillows were delivered with a inspirational message for the patients. This project and Cassidee’s hard work earned her the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Earning the Gold Award requires hours of planning and implementing a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others, and has a lasting impact on its targeted community. Cassidee not only earned her Gold Award, but her story and her project inspired others to make their own Port Pillows to donate to cancer patients.

Cassidee’s project was shared widely by local radio stations and newspapers. Blogger Denise Portugal wrote a post about receiving a small Port Pillow at the Bakersfield Relay for Life and invited readers to make their own as a sewing project.

Read her blog at

To the left is Cassidee at Kern Medical Center, the middle is Dr. Denise Portugal, General Surgeon, the far left is Betty, a Nurse Practitioner in the Oncology Dept. Dr. Denise Portugal wrote the blog about the project. The day photographed, Cassidee delivered 50 Port Pillows.

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