Gifting Soft and Beautiful to the Beautiful and Strong
By Susan Schulz
Kathy DeJoseph is a grateful lung cancer survivor who tries her best to make sure that when someone hears the diagnosis “you have cancer,” he or she meets someone who has made it through such adversity. She makes this happen by volunteering twice a week at the WellStar STAT Cancer Clinic where she was diagnosed and treated. “I understand the shock and fear that they feel and can share my experience and answer questions as someone who has been in that earth-shattering situation,” DeJoseph said.
“One day when I arrived for chemo treatments, I was given a hat by the nurse. It was made by a woman named Margaret. Margaret had taken the time to write a sweet handwritten note to whoever would receive it. It meant a lot to me. I never forgot the kindness of receiving this special gift from a complete stranger that day and the way her present made me feel. I started Happy Caps Atlanta as a way to pay it forward and it has grown exponentially in just a year,” she said.
With 101 regular cappers, Happy Caps has gifted close to 3,200 soft, stylish hats since October 2015 to cancer patients or anyone suffering hair loss due to medical conditions. Their mission is to remind those who receive the caps that there are people who care and to make sure that if people stare, it is because the wearers have such cool hats! They also gift caps to children who are hospitalized for any reason. Today, they serve 12 infusion centers in Cherokee, Cobb, Paulding and Pickens counties. Each cap is tagged with a personal message from the person who lovingly made the cap. DeJoseph, a capper herself, has made and donated more than 300 caps since her diagnosis and healing (check out the Star Cappers tab on the website where many cappers are highlighted). “I learned quickly how calming knitting can be. It is a scientifically proven de-stressor and attributed to my healing,” said DeJoseph, who is now cancer free.
The testimonials keep coming in. One Facebook friend wrote: “Happy Caps, you rock! My friend was thrilled with her new cap and she especially loved the big red heart on her cap. Thank you so much for blessing my friend. She felt the love!”
Happy Caps Atlanta became a 501c3 organization in March 2016, making all donations tax deductible. The nonprofit welcomes anyone who would like to make caps. Please contact Happy Caps Atlanta for guidelines. DeJoseph has a few things on her wish list: someone to organize the donations, deliver the caps (preferably a survivor), yarn and website support. For more information and inspiration, visit HappyCapsAtlanta.org, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-653-9448. Also on Facebook as Happy Caps Atlanta.