Church's hat collection benefits those with cancer

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A hat can make life a bit more bearable when the weather turns cold.

But for those who have lost their hair because of cancer treatment, headwear can provide comfort even when the temperatures aren't frigid.

“It's not easy going bald, so staying positive and focusing on what the patient can control is key. A simple hat can provide protection and help a patient feel beautiful,” said Ruth Tolbert of Derry, spokeswoman for Greater Parkview Church in Greensburg.

The church, through its Esther’s Women’s Ministry, is collecting hats for people who have cancer.

Each year, ministry members hold a drive to benefit a worthy cause, such as collecting supplies for those in nursing homes or book bags for children in need. In 2013, the ministry chose to collect hats for cancer patients at the Arnold Palmer Cancer Center in Latrobe.

The group came up with the idea because one of its members had cancer, Mrs. Tolbert said.

“We saw her struggle. We watched as she lost her hair due to the chemotherapy,” said Stephanie Jones of Cranberry, head of the women's ministry. “She had a hard time trying to find the right hat or wig to cover her head.

“We were afraid that we were going to lose her, but thanks to God, she’s in remission and living her life to the fullest. And, her hair has all grown back.”

The church members began collecting hats in November.

“The only stipulation was that the hat be one that the donor would want to wear themselves,” Mrs. Jones said.

Within a month, the ministry, with assistance from the church’s Joshua’s Men’s Ministry, had collected more than 100 hats, which they gave to patients at the Arnold Palmer Cancer Center for Christmas.

“We thought it was only going to be a one-time event,”  Ms. Jones said. “But we’ve gotten such a positive response that we’re continuing the collection.” 

“We hope they wear them with confidence and style,” Mrs. Tolbert said. “We hope the hats bring them warmth, comfort, courage and strength.”

Greater Parkview is celebrating 87 years as a church and has been in Greensburg for four years. For more information or to make a donation: 724-219-3280.

Linda Metz, freelance writer:

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