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February 2017

Madison Senior Center Hosts ‘Hug For Your Head’ Event

By Ainsley Layland olunteers from the local community gathered at the Madison Senior Center to cut, sew, and decorate caps for cancer patients as part of the ‘Hug For Your Head’ project. The caps are made from t-shirts and are donated to the Carol G Simon Cancer Center in Morristown. While volunteering at the center, local community member Paula Moccia saw a need that began this campaign. “I noticed that there was a need for comfortable head coverings for cancer patients who had lost their hair due to chemo treatments,” said Moccia. “I wanted to find a solution and came upon the idea of using recycled t-shirts. The fabric was soft, washable, stretchable and came in many colors. I made a pattern, cut and sewed a hat from a t-shirt, decorated it and brought it in for the patients’ opinions. They loved it.” Moccia formed a committee in the spring of 2012 and officially started the Hug for Your Head, T-Cap project. Since then they have received countless donations to help make the caps. Volunteers interested

in participating are asked to bring washed t-shirts, a sewing machine, and items to decorate the hats with including jewelry, pins, earrings and ribbons. “Many people are interested in helping us and so we do workshops to teach them how to make and decorate the hats,” Moccia said. “We have held two very successful workshops at the Madison Civic Center. The last workshop there on January 19 was attended by about 15 women who helped produce approximately 100 t-caps of all different colors and each one decorated with a pin, flower or scarf.” The caps are included as part of the ‘comfort cart’ which also holds pillows,

blankets and candy available for patients to take. According to Moccia, the comfort cart is brought up to the infusion rooms by volunteers and the patients are able to pick whatever they need from it. “We had the first event back in November and then just recently hosted another project day January 19 with plans to host a third event in April,” said Edna lerley-Byrne, Director at Madison Senior Center. “This most recent day in January was actually recorded and will be on cable on February 19.” Community members can tune in to the feature to see first-hand how the project operates and join in for the next event in April.

“Since the spring of 2012, we have donated approximately 1,000 t-caps to our patients every year,” Moccia said. “They are extremely happy and appreciative to receive a t-cap and are very moved knowing that someone cared enough about their condition. We will be celebrating our fifth anniversary of our project this spring with a total of 5,000 donated ‘Hug for Your Head, T-Caps’,” Moccia said. “Our goal is to spread the word about our project so perhaps other cancer centers will start their own program that will provide much needed comfort to their cancer patients. I hope you will be able help us.”

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