One hundred homemade hats are a sign of love and support that one local girl hopes to give to survivors of ovarian cancer, but she needs help to reach her goal.
The Teal Hat Project is a national cause started by Ahwatukee Foothills resident Mary Ciesynski. Her goal is to have 100 teal, homemade hats donated by Aug. 1 to be sent to the Walk/Run to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer in Rhode Island. The hats will be given to survivors during the walk.
"The reason I picked Rhode Island was because it's where I'm originally from and my cousin is the president of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Rhode Island Chapter so I know it's going where it's supposed to," said Ciesynski. "I'm hoping if this is successful then it could grow and we could start something locally."
Ciesynski's family has been involved with ovarian cancer awareness since her cousin's niece passed away from the disease. When she saw that her cousin was looking for donations for the upcoming walk she wanted to help out.
"We started brainstorming and she said a lot of the survivors are going through chemo and they like anything that they can wear that makes them feel a little more confident," said Ciesynski. "That's where the idea of hats came in to play."
Ciesynski said she used to make hats in her spare time and she belongs to a crafting community online so she thought she might be able to find some support for her project.
So far she has gotten responses from crafters all over working on hats to send her, but physically she has only received a few.
There is no specific pattern for the hats. The style is left up to the creator. All that is required is that it's teal, the color for ovarian cancer.
"I wanted them to be homemade so it would be from the heart," said Ciesynski. "Love in every stitch. I thought if I leave it up to the creator then we'd have 100 different hats for each person's different personality."
Ciesynski has a goal of 100 so that she has enough for each survivor at the walk. In the past there have been 50 to 60 survivors but the walk is growing each year.
She's asking anyone who donates a hat to include their name and city they're from so the survivor who receives that hat can know it was made with love.
"I want these women to know they are getting these caps from people all around the country and they can feel loved," said Ciesynski. "I want to make them know they're not alone and that other people are rooting for them."
"I don't think it's necessarily because it affected a part of my family but it's just that I wanted to do something to help people," Ciesynski said. "I think part of the reason I started this project is so that people can learn about ovarian cancer. I will happily make 100 hats by myself if I have to but I really want more community involvement. I want to bring people together for a good cause."
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