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I have been receiving a lot of emails from schools, groups and companies, asking how to help spread awareness during September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  I thought it might be good to address that here on the blog.  First, check out our Get Involved section on the Hats Off For Cancer (HOC) Web site if you know how you want to help.  If you’re still unsure, keep reading.

One of the easiest and more impacting ways to get involved is by hosting a Mad Hatter Drive at your school or church, in your community, with an organization or at your place of work.

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There are a ton of different ideas for your drive listed in our e-packets.

  • Some that have been very successful for groups in the past include designating a “Hat Day” where you collect a $1 donation from each person that wears a hat for the day.
  • Another great idea for an elementary or middle school is asking everyone to bring in their craziest hat and put it on during an assembly, asking for a $1 donation for HOC, and then holding a “Hat Parade” outside so everyone can see the fun hats and handing out prizes in certain categories!
  • You can host a Mad Hatter tea party and charge admission, either a new hat or a couple of dollars.
  • Hat drives are also a great way to give back, asking everyone to bring in new, kid-friendly hats to give to HOC.
  • Some groups have held a Battle of the Bands or a local concert after school or at church and used the admission fees to donate to HOC.
  • High Schools and Colleges have challenged rival schools to a competition to see who can raise the most money or collect the most hats.
  • Contact your local grocery store about partnering to ask patrons to donate $1 and they can write their name on a hat cut-out and post them up in the store display area.
  • Church groups and civic organizations and groups can knit or crochet soft hats.
  • Schools have used assembly time to show the HOC PSA and music video as a way to help everyone understand a little more about cancer and who is being helped through volunteering for Hats Off For Cancer.
  • Companies can give workers additional casual day passes for those that have participated in a donation or hat drive, or hold a golf outing with your company as the sponsor.
  • Everyone can get involved by hosting a virtual fundraiser through our online donation page where you can set up your very own page for Hats Off For Cancer and send the link out to family and friends.
  • You can find more ideas based on your type of group and event by visiting the Get Involved section of our Web site: Get Involved.

Truly, the opportunities are endless.  However, the most important part to remember is that you’re helping to spread awareness of this terrible disease, and you’re encouraging others to donate in a very simple, but in a way that is very meaningful and important to those benefiting from it.

Ultimately, one of the goals of Hats Off For Cancer is that everyone who participates in or coordinates an event, realizes how easy it is to give back, and uses this as a springboard to continue seeking out opportunities to give back to others in need.

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Here is a fun way to promote awareness. Just share this photo on your facebook page or tweet it to your followers!

Remember, getting involved can be as easy as you want it to be, but the impact can be felt for the rest of your life.

Thank you for reading and we hope you’ll consider joining us in bringing some much needed awareness to the courageous kids and teens who are battling and have battled cancer!

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“Why are you involved with Hats Off For Cancer?”

Tyler Barker

I am proud to share why I support Hats Off For Cancer. My Mom was diagnosed with a tumor when I was only 9 months old and had a lot of her hair shaved off for her surgery.  As a result, Hats Off is very close to my heart. I am honored to be able to help collect hats for the thousands of children who lose their hair during their cancer treatment and surgery. I am extremely grateful for my health and for being able to pursue my passion of golf.

I have also been a Double Red Cell and Platelet Donor for the past two years.  Many patients who need platelets are undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplant and have weakened immune systems. A platelet dose from a single donor reduces the patient’s exposure to multiple donors and is therefore preferred by many physicians. A single platelet donation can provide enough platelets for a full therapeutic dose for a patient in need. In fact, some platelet donations yield enough platelets for two or three therapeutic doses. By contrast, it takes four to six whole blood donations to produce a single therapeutic dose.  My monthly platelet donation takes a full 2 hours. Knowing I can affect someone’s life in a huge way, through platelet donations and through my work with Hats Off For Cancer, means a lot to me.

Through golf and the events I play in, I have made wonderful connections in the sporting industry and am happy to have received the support from companies like Adidas and Taylormade to name a few.  I am looking forward to Mad Hatter Day 2011 and collecting over 1000 hats myself!

More about Tyler:

Tyler is the first and only Junior Board Member for the international nonprofit program, Hats Off For Cancer.  He has participated and organized several hat drives and is responsible for spearheading the Portland area’s Hats Off For Cancer’s National Mad Hatter Day Event for two consecutive years now.  His first effort found him as the national award winner for the most hats and monies donated. This is not an easy achievement as there were over 100 hat projects nationally entered in the Mad Hatter Day event. He was also featured on the Hats Off website as the national award winner with a photo and story about his very special event.    His commitment continued and was so impressive to the HOC Board of Directors, that they invited him to hold the position of the very first Junior Board member to be named on this nonprofit board.

Tyler started playing golf in his freshman year of high school and his leadership and personable skills earned him the role of captain of the Varsity team in his Junior and Senior Year. After only 6 years of golf, he has since gone on to play on the International Junior Golf Tour. After qualifying for the IGJT Tournament of Champions in Florida in May of 2011, Tyler was selected to play for the IJGT Team USA against Scotland and Canada in St Andrews, Scotland, in the Euro Cup in July 2011.

Sharing the same birthplace as famous South African golfers such as Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen, Tyler hopes to emulate their success on the national playing field. Tyler continues to use his sport to connect with Nike, Adidas, Taylormade, Quicksilver as well as DC Shoes, to encourage them to donate hats to Hats off for Cancer.

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