Lara and Jason MacGregor were anxiously awaiting the birth of their second child, another boy. It was during Lara’s 7-month routine Obstetrician appointment when her life would change forever. The discomfort she was experiencing in her left breast was in fact stage II breast cancer. Because of the type of cancer, her Oncologist recommended Lara to begin treatment immediately.
While it’s easy to say “it’s just hair,” anyone who has gone through cancer treatment knows that the fear of losing one’s hair is more than just vanity. Losing your hair can make you vulnerable and feel like you have lost part of your identity. A woman Lara had never met, but with whom she shared a mutual friend, sent her a package. Inside were beautiful scarves she wore during her battle with cancer and a note saying, “You can do this.” The scarves were both practical and inspiring. Just knowing someone else had worn the scarves and beat cancer helped Lara believe she could do it, too. Lara had hopes that she could pass along scarves to another woman as had so kindly been done for her. And this is how the Hope Scarves organization began. Passing along scarves and stories of hope to encourage other women battling cancer.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Lara to find out more about the second annual Hope Scarves event this Saturday, October 12.Lori Kommor: Can you share with us what it means to you to encourage and lift the spirits of other women who are battling cancer?
Lara MacGregor: Hope Scarves is my way of passing along the love and support I received when I was facing cancer. It is really powerful to be able to turn a scary time in my life into something positive. It is even more meaningful as I watch the mission of Hope Scarves grow beyond my personal mission and see others excited to help spread hope and encouragement. Now we have a team of people working on the project all inspired to know that each scarf we send out brightens a woman’s day and helps her know she is not alone in her journey.
Kommor: The second annual Hope Scarves event is Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7p.m. Can you share with us details of this year’s event? Are tickets still available for the event? If so, where can they be purchased?
MacGregor: Celebration of Hope is a casual, classy backyard barbecue hosted by Libby & Wayne Hancock in Rolling Fields. We will have Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot BBQ, sides by Paul’s Fruit Market, a specialty Maker’s Mark Bourbon Bar, BBC Beer and Bluegrass Music by Hog Operation Band. There will be a silent and live auction and we are selling raffle tickets leading up to the event for a Steepleton Big Green Egg and ten, $100 restaurant gift cards worth $1000. The drawing will be that evening, although you do not need to be present to win. There will be a special program hosted by Lynda Lambert (a breast cancer survivor) and the four cancer survivors who were the inspiration for Hope Scarves will speak as part of the program. This is the first time they have all met in person as they are coming from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Louisville to share their story. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased on our website hopescarves.org or by calling 502.333.9715
Kommor: A woman who has completed breast cancer treatment can share her story and scarves with other women facing cancer through Hope Scarves. How does someone go about sharing her story and scarf?
MacGregor: Survivors can share their scarves and story on our website, www.hopescarves.org; simply click on “Donate a Scarf” and you can share your story even if you don’t have a scarf to donate. We will match your story with a scarf that is donated from the community and it will begin its journey as a Hope Scarf.
Kommor: What is your vision for Hope Scarves in the years to come?
MacGregor: We hope to change the way people experience cancer. If you are a patient we can send you a little hope in the form of a scarf and story. If you are a survivor we can be a way to live beyond cancer. If you know a loved one facing cancer we can help you support them by sending a scarf and story. In each of these ways, we hope to make cancer a little less scary and a bit more beautiful.
Kommor: What are your words of encouragement for someone battling cancer?
MacGregor: You can do this.
Kommor: Can you tell us about the partnership Hope Scarves has with Norton Cancer Institute?
MacGregor: Hope Scarves and Norton Cancer Institute have a partnership where scarves and stories of hope are given directly to patients at the hospital. We have 160 scarves at 9 locations throughout Norton Cancer Institute. This partnership allows us to get scarves to women facing cancer much quicker without them having to learn about Hope Scarves on their own. We also have drop boxes in the Norton Cancer Resource Centers where survivors can donate their scarves and stories and we are partnering with KY Center for Performing Arts to conduct writing workshops with survivors to help them use writing as a healing art. We are excited to work with Norton Cancer Institute as our first official hospital partner and are thankful for the opportunity to bring our program to their patients.