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Bringing Joy to the Infusion Center

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Laura Zabriskie

April 27, 2020
As a financial professional, sewing isn’t typically a part of Insung Kim’s daily schedule – until now. Like all of us, Insung’s life has been drastically impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and she now dedicates an hour or more per day to sewing masks for cancer patients, their families, and the dedicated healthcare workers caring for them.

GBMC has a special place in Insung’s heart – it’s where she received her breast cancer treatment last year. Her diagnosis came during a time of upheaval in her personal life and she described herself as “being in a very dark space spiritually.” She simply wanted to hide and weather the storm without having to depend on anyone else. “I was stubborn,” she said, “I didn’t want to feel weak because I couldn’t get through it by myself.”

Despite her resolve, Insung learned to accept help from her friends and neighbors during her treatment. She was surprised by how much she bonded with the infusion nurses who were caring for her during her chemotherapy. “They were just so wonderful,” she said, “I tell my friends that all the nice people in Maryland must be working at GBMC.”

After her first treatment, Insung decided that she wanted to bring more color into the infusion center, so she came with her own quilt and wore clothes she had sewn herself. “I was hoping that the bright colors and patterns would bring some happiness,” she explained. She was right. As soon as her nurse saw the beautiful pieces Insung had brought, she called over Cathy, another infusion nurse who loved crafting and sewing. Cathy and Insung connected over their shared interests and stayed in contact even after Insung had finished her treatments.

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Maryland, Insung joined a collective in Baltimore that brought local sewers together to make and donate masks to local hospitals. She also reached out to Cathy to see if the infusion center needed masks for themselves or their patients. When Cathy answered yes, she dropped everything – even taking personal leave from work – to sew as many masks for GBMC as quickly as she could.

Cathy described them as “simply amazing.” The infusion center ran out of masks fairly quickly, so Insung came back with another 50. “She brought a playful eye to the fabric selection and they are just so joyful. We offered to pay for the supplies, but she refuses. She just wants to give back and help,” said Cathy.

Insung has donated hundreds of homemade masks to local hospitals and she has no plans of slowing down. “I never thought my sewing skill would be needed for this kind of task, but this is something I can do, and I want to do anything to help.” She insists that she is just a small part of the movement to support healthcare workers and patients, but her efforts have made all the difference in the world at GBMC’s infusion center.

To learn more about how you can give back during this time, please visit or donate to the GBMC HealthCare Workers Fund to support our healthcare heroes.

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