Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and in 2008 was responsible for 7.6 million deaths. Childhood cancer is something that I hear about so frequently these days, and makes my stomach hurt to think about it happening to my own child.
The volunteer group that I am a part of, The Pink Pacers, is supporting the fight against childhood cancer by raising money to benefit UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Pediatric Oncology Program in Chapel Hill, NC. (Learn more about the Pink Pacers here). Before Christmas, I was lucky to be able to help throw a holiday party at the clinic for children and their families coming in for chemo. It was a sobering experience, one in which I hid my face to wipe tears away several times.
The Pink Pacers (led by my courageous friend Katy) work with other local groups to raise money – and I wanted to share with you the story of Headbands of Hope and how they make the lives of children with cancer more beautiful while raising money to support research:
Jessica Ekstrom is a student at North Carolina State University. Before her 20th birthday in the summer of 2011, she did an internship at the Make a Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina. Everyday, she worked to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses and received hundreds of letters from wish children that said their lives had been changed. One day, Jessica was pulling her hair back in a ponytail and she thought about the hundreds of girls that lose their hair to cancer. Not only do they have to face the risk of losing their lives, they feel that they lose a part of their feminine identity.
It was then that Jessica created Headbands of Hope! For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research. Here’s how it works:
I have a cute pink sparkly one that I wear to our Pink Pacers events – there are tons of different styles to choose from! I hope you’re inspired to purchase a headband for you or your little one to help give the gift of beauty and hope to another. Visit Headbands of Hope online to order: www.headbandsofhope.org