Love and Care for Those Fighting for Their Lives
“I was given a hat by the nurse one day when I arrived for a chemo treatment,” said Kathy DeJoseph, Happy Caps founder. “It was made by a woman named Margaret. She 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, especially while beginning the fight for my life. I don’t know Margaret, but I wish that I did. She has no idea that her gift led me to start Happy Caps. As a result, over 16,000 patients to date have received beautiful handmade hats.”
It all began in October, 2015, when DeJoseph started a Facebook page, in hopes of finding a few others interested in making caps with her. Four other “cappers” joined the cause, and the team started delivering hats to two locations.
Now in its fourth year, the Acworth nonprofit Happy Caps has remained an all-volunteer organization, with more than 200 active cappers supplying a beautiful and varied selection of hand-knit caps to 30 medical offices and infusion centers in Cobb and surrounding counties, South Georgia and Alabama.
Each soft, stylish hat is intended to be a special gift to cancer patients, or anyone suffering hair loss due to a medical condition. The 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! Happy Caps also gifts caps to children in the hospital for any reason. Each one is tagged with a personal message from the person who lovingly made the cap.
Kathy has made and donated more than 300 caps since her diagnosis and healing. High-volume cappers are even highlighted on the Happy Caps website, on the “Star Cappers” tab.
“I learned quickly how calming knitting can be,” Kathy said. “It is a scientifically proven de-stressor and contributed to my healing.”
Kathy is now cancer-free, and uses her talent to help others through Happy Caps. Because of her willingness to serve others, the testimonials keep coming in.
“These caps are warm and beautiful. Knowing they were handmade just for us makes my heart smile,” said Dani.
“I’m 78 and currently undergoing radiation therapy. It’s such a treat to see all the beautiful caps the volunteers are lovingly making for all of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a wonderful gift,” said Nereida.
Happy Caps became a 501(c)(3) organization in March 2016, making all donations tax-deductible. The nonprofit welcomes anyone who would like to make caps. Please contact Happy Caps for guidelines. Kathy’s wish list for this happy organization is for a sponsor to provide some real space for the caps and cappers. For the past year, they have operated out of the largest climate-controlled storage room available, which is no longer suitable. In addition to outgrowing the space, the facility is cold in the winter and very warm in the summer.
For more information and inspiration, visit www.happycaps.us or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Caps is located at 142 Flagstone Way, Acworth.
– Susan Browning Schulz, a Bible teacher, author, wife, and mom of three grown children.