A sun hat is stylish, but when it's a free hat – that makes it even better! If you're in chemotherapy for breast cancer, a good hat can offer protection as well as raise your spirits. Chemo drugs can cause hair loss – but a couple of great hats can help you through treatment, until your hair makes a new debut! To avoid splotchy skin, extra freckles, or sunburn, a brimmed hat can keep you cool, stylish and protected. But how can you afford hats in addition to paying for breast cancer treatment? Here are ways to find free hats during your cancer journey.
Have A High Tea Hat Party
If you're lucky enough to have a group of friends supporting you, ask them to throw you a hat party. Arrange to have a lunch or tea in a private home, and ask guests to bring a hat to donate. After lunch, try on each hat and take photos. These don't have to be serious hats – some can be styled just for fun! Enjoy your hats while you need them and remember the thoughtfulness of the person who gave it to you. When your hair comes back in, donate the hats to a clinic so others may benefit.
Find Chapeaus At Your Clinic
Many clinics, hospitals, and support centers have a collection of hats, caps, and scarves on hand, free for patients to take. Ask your infusion nurses, clinic social worker, or other patients where you can find free hats. I've found that there is usually a box near the infusion room full of donated hats, scarves and good books. After completing treatment, consider donating hats and caps as a nice way to give back to other patients. You know they will appreciate it!
Just Ask For Halos of Hope
Founded as a labor of love by Pamela Haschke, a survivor of Inflammatory Breast Cancer - IBC, Halos of Hope provides free hats for cancer patients. Haschke was given handmade hats by her supporters during her months of chemo, and was touched by the care and comfort that these hats gave to her. Halos of Hope accepts donations of hats that are knit, crochet, or cloth – then ships those out to patients and clinics as they have need. If your clinic is not yet served by Halos of Hope, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to advise them of your clinic's need. Men, women, and children could all use a Halo, and Haschke's organization reaches as many people as they can. You can donate funds or hats, to be sure there are always enough Halos to go around.
Get Styles At Look Good Feel Better
Call your local chapter of the American Cancer Society and ask about their Look Good Feel Better Workshops. This is a free service for women taking chemotherapy or radiation treatments, staffed by volunteer cosmetologists. Services can vary depending on your location, but many workshops offer help with skin care, makeup, and head coverings. Look Good Feel Better chapters may have free makeup kits, free wigs, scarves, sleep caps, and free hats. Women and men have been helped by Look Good Feel Better workshops, which you can find by visiting their website or calling their toll-free number, 1-800-395-LOOK (1-800-395-5665).
You can vary the look of a hat by adding embellishments such as silk flowers, ribbons, or cute buttons. For a more natural look, attach partial hairpieces – bangs, a ponytail, or a hair halo – for a cooler way to combine synthetic tresses with a hat. Some hats even come with a built-in ponytail. To prevent hats from slipping or blowing off, wear a snug cap or cotton scarf against your head and slip your hat on top. Whether or not yours is a free hat, wear it with confidence and style.