I have been privileged in my life to know some very remarkable people. I have known men and women of exceptional character and courage. And today I'd like to tell you about one of those people and ask for your help.
I met Pamela Haschke from Halos of Hope almost three years ago when she first started working with us at STITCHES. I admired what she was doing—collecting hand-made knit and crochet hats for people going through chemotherapy—and I was impressed with how disciplined and how generous Pam and her foundation were with their time and efforts. I still remember the first handwritten note that she sent me after our first STITCHES together. I knew then that she was a 'class act'. But I didn't really get to know her personally until this last year.
What I didn’t know is that Pam is a stage 3 cancer survivor herself—eight years now in fact. I didn't know that Pam collected and sent hats to places like summer camps for kids battling cancer with the sole goal of trying to make those kids feel normal and loved. I didn't know how tirelessly she has worked as an advocate for cancer patients. I hadn't heard the heart breaking stories of the lives that Halos of Hope had touched—some with happy endings, some not. I didn’t know that when she waged her war on Cancer and won, she didn’t think twice about losing her hair until it was gone. And until I met Pam, I didn’t understand the emotional toll that losing your hair has on a woman, and how it affects her dignity and self-esteem. Note: Please read more about Pam here.
And once I knew more about Pam and Halos of Hope, I knew this organization, led by such a phenomenal woman, was doing GOOD in the world—the kind of good we all wish we could do. I have no trouble telling you that she's my hero and that she’s inspired me. But for all that, I didn't know what else XRX, Inc. and STITCHES Expos could do to help support their cause and needs.
You see, Halos of Hope is a successful foundation. It's growing! And due to the generous spirit of knitters and crocheters, they've collected a lot of hats. Since they were incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2008, they've sent out more than 72,000 hats to over 450 cancer centers across America. It's a testament to the people of our craft and our industry. The problem is—money! It takes money to make sure those hats get sent to the people that need them. It takes money to grow the foundation so that Pam's dream of making sure every person dealing with the loss of their hair due to cancer (almost a half a million each year) gets a hat made with love. So again, I found myself inspired but unable to think of how we could best help Pam with her dream.
So starting today, we've launched a fund-raising campaign for Halos of Hope. Drew Emborsky (a.k.a. The Crochet Dude™), Mark Moraca from Kollage Yarns, and I, Benjamin Levisay, have agreed to participate in a gesture of solidarity for people who are going through one of the worst times in their lives. We're calling it: "The Great Halos of Hope Buzz." You can go online and vote to 'Save' or 'Shave' one or more of our heads for a small contribution to Halos of Hope, just $10 per vote. We will run this online fundraiser until October 13, 2012 at noon. Then at 12:01, we'll tally the votes and one of us will have his head shaved on the Market floor at STITCHES East in Hartford, CT as a show of support for those going through cancer treatment.
Cancer has touched all of us! And our reaction to it helps define us as a caring people. We fight it! We don't stop fighting. We fight against the despair that we all feel. We fight to give comfort to our friends and family members who are going through it. And we fight to make a difference! Pam and Halos of Hope are fighting that fight with love and kindness. And while they're doing it, we're going to have their backs!
We're asking you to help us! We're asking you to make a difference. $10 will ensure that 31 people will receive a hat and can feel a little hope. We have the opportunity to be part of 'the light' that makes another life brighter. We have the opportunity to help give a little love and comfort to another soul who is in pain. We're asking you to help Halos of Hope continue their fight against the despair that is cancer! Will you please join us in this act of solidarity?
P.S. We wish to also thank our corporate sponsors for their support. These fine companies have generously donated money and/or resources to help Halos of Hope achieve their goals. We are calling these companies ‘Hope Sponsors’ and we hope you’ll visit their websites and join us in thanking them for their support!