By Kathy Walsh

SUPERIOR, Colo. (CBS4)– A breast cancer survivor is helping comfort patients in Colorado and beyond. She has donated more than 1,200 special pillows to help ease the pain after breast cancer surgery.

The pillows are all heart-shaped and made by volunteers.

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Jen Willard is passionate about her non-profit, JWILL Pink Village, Inc. Her pillows are stuffed with love.

Jen Willard (credit: CBS)

On a Tuesday morning in December, in a festive home in Superior, we found a happy sewing circle making hearts to give away.

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Eighteen volunteers were cutting, sewing, stuffing and stitching on Tuesday. Making pillows that are Willard’s passion.

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“It will be three years ago this Christmas Eve that I got the call that I had breast cancer,” Willard told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

(credit: CBS)

Willard was a healthy 41-year-old. She was a mother and a new bride.

(credit: Jen Willard)

“It was heartbreaking,” she said.

(credit: Jen Willard)

After a double mastectomy, she was given a heart pillow that she could attach to the seat belt to cushion her in the car.

(credit: Jen Willard)

“This small act of kindness was really so much more than a pillow,” she explained.

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It was support from strangers and Willard wanted to pay it forward. On social media, she asked for help making 75 pillows. One year later…

“We’ve gifted over 1,200 pillows, all made by volunteers,” she said with a smile.

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Willard’s mother, Sandy Triplette, drives three hours from Holyoke to help sew. Willard’s friends hold pillow parties. Everything is donated.

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“There’s days I say. ‘My heart wants to explode with gratitude,’” said a teary-eyed Willard.

Her goal is to gift pillows to all Colorado hospitals that perform breast cancer surgeries and then, go nationwide.

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“I’m so thankful that I’m cancer free and I get another chance at life. I just want to make it count.”

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Willard includes a handwritten note on each pillow that reads, “This pillow was made by volunteers with love and hope. Sending you strength and courage. You’re not alone.”

Donations accepted at PayPal JWILL Pink Village or send a check to JWILL Pink Village, 468 Eaton Circle, Superior, CO 80027. Venmo also accepted at JWILL PINK VILLAGE.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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