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16-Year-Old Donating Pillows to Help Comfort Cancer Patients at Richmond University Medical Center

February 9, 2021

Victoria Ann Amaniera Has Donated Over 50 Handmade Pillows to the Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care

February 8, 2021 – For one 16-year-old lady, providing comfort to cancer patients as they continue treatments amidst fears of contracting COVID-19, is a mission.  Victoria Ann Amaniera of New Jersey has donated over 50 handmade pillows to Richmond University Medical Center’s Center for Cancer Care. The heart-shaped pillows are a welcome sight for patients looking to rest their heads during treatment or needing something to squeeze tight during uncomfortable moments.

Amaniera’s aunt, Deborah Rodriguez, is the associate director for cancer services at RUMC. After watching so many people’s lives impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and knowing that some people, like those battling cancer, had no choice but to continue treatment in fear of possible exposure, Amaniera approached her aunt about wanting to do something. “It’s not enough to do nothing just because I’m 16,” Amaniera said. 

After brainstorming with her aunt, Amaniera decided to follow in her Grandmother Joyce’s footsteps. Joyce was a veteran seamstress who passed away in 2009. Amaniera decided to begin sewing pillows. Assisted by her parents, Brian and Lori who are originally from Staten Island, Amaniera put needle and thread to work.

“I told Victoria our cancer patients continue to come in even though they are scared of COVID-19,” Rodriguez said. “But they would rather come for treatment to beat cancer then worry about COVID-19.  I told Victoria why don’t you help these patients feel more comfortable when they come for treatment.  We brainstormed and Victoria decided she could make pillows for them to use during treatment. She has clearly inherited her grandmothers’ gift.”

Amaniera continues to make more pillows and will donate them to RUMC as needed. In some ways Amaniera’s special attention to those in need of special care comes full circle. She was born premature, weighing only 2 pounds, 3 ounces at 29 weeks old. She spent the first seven weeks of her life in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) fighting for her life. Today Amaniera is in 11th grade. She is a student at Edison High School planning on a career in forensics.  Her interests includes photography, fashion, scrapbooking, kayaking and spending time with her family. She has also recently been accepted into the talented and gifted program at Middlesex County College where she will further pursue her interest in photography.

“Speaking for our patients at the Center for Cancer Care, and all our staff, a tremendous thank you to Victoria and her family for thinking of others,” president and chief executive officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, FACHE, said. “Her pillows are bringing great comfort to our patients and they are touched to know that someone is thinking of them and their well-being.”


Richmond University Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare provider serving the ethnically diverse community of Staten Island and its neighbors. The medical center provides premier-quality patient care through a full spectrum of emergent, acute, primary, behavioral health and educational services. RUMC does this in an environment that promotes the highest satisfaction among patients, families, physicians and staff. For more information call 1-718-818-1234 or visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.