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Our own board member, Eric Christian Olsen, who plays Marty Deeks on NCIS: Los Angeles, needs our votes for the CBS Celebrity Cook-Off competition to help win $5,000 for Hats Off For Cancer!  Just go to this web site: http://www.cbs.com/superbowl/celebrity-cook-off/ and click on the Vote buttons next to Eric’s recipe.  Share them on your facebook page and twitter.  The more votes, the better!

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Our founder, Tara Lawrence, is a Volunteer of the Year finalist for the CLASSY Awards with Stay Classy.  The 3rd Annual CLASSY Awards is the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, recognizing the most outstanding philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses and individuals nationwide.  This award could bring us $10,000 that we so greatly need to continue helping improve the quality of life for children battling cancer.  Would you mind taking a minute to go to this site and vote for Tara Lawrence as Volunteer of the Year?  You only need to vote once.

Here’s the nomination that helped Tara earn a spot in the final round of voting:

Hats, hats and more hats! Over 1,000,000 hats have been donated, organized and shipped to children fighting cancer worldwide because a ten year old girl looked into the eyes of children fighting cancer and did something positive to help. Starting with one simple letter written by Tara requesting a donation, a national nonprofit organization was born, motivating thousands of volunteers worldwide to bring smiles and hope to the faces of children battling cancer.

Losing her grandfather to cancer, Tara volunteered at the American Cancer Society in his honor. Meeting children who hated losing their hair to cancer treatments, Tara began collecting new hats bringing smiles, hope and happiness into their lives. Hats Off for Cancer became the nonprofit that rallied volunteers from all walks of life. Presidents, celebrities, schools, churches, scouts, the FBI and everyday folks felt the comfort of donating a simple hat. Hat drives, walk-a-thons, hat parties, silly hat days and personal collections were all organized and donated by people worldwide. A hat, while at times may seem small, and to some even insignificant, actually represents a special message to these heroic kids. A hat signed by a treasured celebrity, a hat created by a caring woman who personally knit her message of love into every stitch, or a hat decorated by that excited Scout, sent their message, “We care and we are thinking about you!”

Considered the first hat program in the country, Tara is honored and humbled by the many programs that have popped up emulating HOC. Since HOC is a grassroots program, no one takes a salary. All donations go directly into the program for the shipment and everyday costs of running a program of this magnitude. The biggest challenge is the continuance of donations to maintain HOC, but this has not stopped Tara. Visiting hospitals handing out hats, Tara has sat in many hospital rooms with children holding their hands while they received their chemotherapy, sat with parents who had stories that filled her heart with love and hope, and cried with parents who were told there was no hope at all. Each child has their own special story, and a special spot in her heart.

Tara says, “After each visit I walk away with a promise to myself and the children that I will never stop doing what I do until every battle has been won for each child fighting cancer.”

Read more about the CLASSY Awards and find Tara’s nomination here.

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