America Supports You: Group’s NBA Clothes a Slam Dunk with Troops
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 27, 2007 Sew Much Comfort’s adaptive clothing has always helped injured servicemembers, but now, with the help of the NBA, the troops can proudly display support for their favorite National Basketball Association teams.
Sew Much Comfort is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program, which connects citizens and corporations with members of the military and their families at home and abroad.
“Through (a) working relationship with America Supports You, we were made aware of the terrific things that Sew Much Comfort was doing for our troops as well as the needs they have,” Josh Wachs, vice president of NBA’s community relations, said. “The NBA has donated an assortment of NBA apparel – T-shirts, and sweat tops and bottoms – to Sew Much Comfort for injured troops to enjoy.”
Ginger Dosedel, founder of Sew Much Comfort, said she’s grateful for the NBA’s generosity and the connection America Supports You made between the two groups.
She’s even more grateful that she can now honor injured servicemembers' requests without having to call teams individually with her requests for clothing.
“(The NBA) has sent us hundreds of T-shirts and sweats and athletic shorts for us to adapt,” Dosedel said. “For (servicemembers) to be able to get clothing or something that has their home team on it just brings something from home a little closer, and (it’s) something that they’re very enthusiastic about.
“It’s nice for them to have clothing from their home team that supports them in kind of a special way,” she added.
Wachs said the NBA will continue making donations to Sew Much Comfort whenever it can.
The hundreds of pieces of clothing the NBA has sent Dosedel go through a process that has occurred since Sew Much Comfort began in December 2004.
Each piece is adapted to accommodate servicemembers injuries. For instance, pants might be opened up down the outside of the leg and some form of fasteners attached so they’re easier for someone with limited leg mobility to get in and out of.
The group got its start with Dosedel’s son, Michael, 13.
A childhood illness has made it necessary for Michael to undergo limb-lengthening procedures which require the use of a fixator. The external device makes wearing normal pants impossible, so early on his mom reworked a pair of sweats so they covered the apparatus and closed completely, a real bonus in the winter.
At 11, Michael noticed there were a lot of servicemembers facing his same situation and no one was making them clothes. And Sew Much Comfort was born.
The clothing is now adapted by seamstresses across the country, who Dosedel describes as “phenomenally ingenious.” “They are incredibly gifted in making things functional and practical, and yet they look like they’re off the rack,” she said.
The breadth of what injuries can be accommodated has grown along with the group. In fact, seamstresses are designing a new type of shirt that will fit over a device that holds a tracheotomy tube, she said.
All this is in keeping with the organization’s mission of providing free adaptive clothing to provide servicemembers with a greater sense of independence and minimize the visual impact of their injuries.
“Nothing makes you feel worse than just sitting around feeling sick and looking like you feel sick, and hospital gowns are not conducive to feeling normal,” Dosedel said. “(They also) give servicemembers a very functional thank you from the American people to show their support for the troops.”
That thank you has recently expanded into what Dosedel describes as “comfort accessories.” The group is now providing bed rail organizers and crutch bags that help servicemembers keep track of or transport small items. It also provides hats, mitts and socks for those being transported home for further treatment.
The clothes are still the focus, however, and because of servicemembers’ love of sports, Dosedel said she hopes to continue her group’s affiliation with the NBA, and maybe even approach the National Football League with the same idea.