Copyright © 2006
Hats of Hope

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Congratulations to Elaine Sherwood and Conway Regional Health Center for an unbelievable event, the 1st Conway Regional Health Fair. Elaine has been one of our biggest supporters, bringing hats to her Relay for Life Team at Conway Regional in Conway, Arkansas. Not only is Elaine an oncology nurse extraodinaire, she is tireless in her efforts to raise money and awareness. Elaine alerted us to the Colossal Colon project and the women who made it a reality.

Elaine Sherwood, Lea Algood, Hannah Vogler, Molly McMaster, and Noelle Sherwood.

hats of hope is proud to work with SMA. To learn more about this disease go to our links and click on SMA sites.

Pictures from Madison’s Angels at the End Zone Fundraiser 3/12//05

L-R: back Michelle Torbert wearing visor with Cade’s picture, Tod Torbert; front Callie Torbert, Cade Torbert, OSU coach Jim Tressel

OSU football coach Jim Tressel and Michelle Worellia

During the final days of my father’s illness, only two things mattered Tribute to a Hat A simple baseball hat with the stylized embroidered word “Hope” on the bill has given me the most meaningful moment of my life. The hat is from the “Hats of” company and is one of the “healing hats”. Inside the hat is the Jewish prayer for healing in Hebrew and the interpretation of the prayer in English by Debbi Friedman. She has written a hauntingly beautiful melody for this prayer, and translates it as follows:

“May the source of strength, who blessed the ones before us Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing and let us say. Amen. Bless those in need of healing, with r’fuah shlemah The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit and let us say. Amen”

This particular “Hat of Hope” was presented to my father (Rabbi Herbert Morris). He was supposed to give a prayer for the children at my son, Elijah’s, preschool graduation in May. He was unable to be there because his health was deteriorating. The preschool director, Joanie Charnow, sent the hat to my father. Very touched by her thoughtfulness because he did not know her well, he wore the hat to his chemo treatments so he could share the prayer with the other patients. As his health declined, the hat ended up in the closet. It sat atop a stack of hats from his travels. Alaska, China, Australia, Denver, even his police chaplain hat. On November 3, we knew Dad was in his last few days of life. He knew it also. But on that day Mom said to him, “You are not done being a Rabbi yet, there is more for you to do”. Carolyn, a nurse who had helped Mom and Dad recently, needed to see “her Rabbi” although she is not Jewish. Her mother is dying from her struggle with cancer and on this day, she found that her 11 year old daughter has cancer and must begin chemo immediately. We lovingly took the hat from the closet and gave it to Dad. He held tightly to the hat, and with purpose in his eyes said, “ok”. Carolyn arrived and sat next to Dad. He talked with her about the fight ahead and entreated her to remember the part of Psalm 23 that we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”. “You will walk through, you don’t stay there, you just keep moving through. That is how you will get through this,” he said as he gripped her hand.

Carolyn brought her daughter, Jessica, into my father’s bedroom where we were all gathered. I believe that there were 15 of us (family and friends). Jessica sat by my father’s side, a lovely blond-haired and pink-cheeked girl in her Catholic school uniform. Dad was very weak and trembly but his voice was strong as he spoke to Jessica, giving her what strength he had left, telling her that although she had a rough road ahead she would get through it. He explained the healing prayer to her and as she took her mother’s hand, we began to sing. As the 15 people gathered sang the prayer, we held hands and we helped Dad to take Jessica’s hand to complete the circle. While everyone was drying their tears, we asked Jessica to pass the hat along when she meets someone who needs it more than she does. We asked her to sign the hat on the inside and that maybe, with each person who uses the hat, the prayer will gain strength. Three days later, Dad passed away.

For those of us fortunate enough to have been with him at the end, we will never forget the spirituality of a man who used his last bit of strength to bring comfort to a child. All of us were shown the true circle of life from a Rabbi who taught us how to live and was now teaching us how to die. We send you our deepest gratitude and thanks for your remarkable product.

Dena Kaufman, Judy Morris (my Mom), Bram Morris (my Brother), Rayna Arnold (my sister), Tamra Dollin (my sister)

In August of 2003 I was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma and needed to have surgery and then chemotherapy. My oncologist explained the course of treatment and what to expect for side effects, one being the loss of hair. My family decided to have a “Mad Hatter Party” and each guest was to bring a hat for me to wear during my “bald head days.” My sister Sandi works at a wonderful pharmarcy,  and she received a call from DeeDee of hats of hope explaining their mission and goals with these wonderful hats . . . She bought one for me and brought it to the party for me to wear. I loved it and still wear it today even though I have my hair back.

My last chemo session was due to take place over Christmas. My family and I decided that instead of buying gifts for everyone we would buy some hats of hope and give them to the people on the adult cancer unit where I would be receiving my treatment with the hope that these hats would bring the same sense of peace and hope that mine had brought me . . . The nurse that  distributed the hats on X-mas eve reported back to me the joy that each patient expressed with the idea brought by these wonderful hats. I still wear my hat to remind me that there is always hope and to never give up!

Lee Colby

We’d love to see you in your hat so we can add it to our words and photos page.  Please mail your photos and/or words to us at:Hats of Hope
12 Donald St.
Lexington, MA 02420
or E-mail us.

“The hats that I ordered will be worn in memory of a special woman, my cousin Judith, who lost her battle with breast cancer this past November-after a valiant 5 year fight…One is for her best friend, one for her niece and one for me-her cousin. We all participated in the Avon Breast Cancer 3Day this year…2nd year for me-the first for them…I thought that the hats were so beautiful and unique-that I had to get them to honor such an incredible and amazing woman such as my cousin. Thank you so much!!”Chris Woodward“To DeeDee, Joan and Pamela,My first encounter with hats of hope was at Memorial Sloan Kettering Breast Cancer Center. When I entered the shop this baseball cap was sitting there waiting for me. I bought it to help me keep my spirits high for my second mastectomy in less than a year. I added a pin of a butterfly which was a luck charm to a woman during her personal ordeal in WWII. She survived as I plan to do with God’s love, mercy and Guidance.”Bethzaida Santiago, Puerto Rico
“Thank you so much for the hats of hope. They are just wonderful. I have given two of them to breast cancer patients and they love them. The hats offer such words of wisdom and mean so much to the people who wear them. It is a wonderful way to make a difference and I thank you.”L. Littler,R.N.Bethesda Memorial Hospital

Elaine Sherwood and Willie Sullivan inside the colossal colon.

MDA walk, Columbus Ohio, 3/5/05

L-R: Kelly Stare, Michelle Worellia, Michele Torbert Callie Torbert, Katie Stare

Katie Stare

“I wear a hat with pride. Keep up the good message of “hope”.

Barb,  New York 

“My mother and I went to the Dana Farber Center in Boston, MA and distributed the Hats of Hope for my Bat Mitzvah project.We took about twenty hats and went to the children’s floor. There were two kids and a nurse sitting in the playroom. We explained why we were there and the nurse offered the two girls hats. When we gave each of them their purple hats they were so excited. I felt so good when I saw the smile on their faces. They asked to see themselves in the mirror. I had brightened up their day. It made me want to do more. So then we gave out some of the other hats to children on that floor. All the children were so happy to get a hat. I was so happy I did this for my mitzvah project.”Jessica S., age 13“I am a patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC and there is a little shop in the Breast Cancer Treatment Center. I found one of your hats in their shop and purchased two of them…Thanks so much for making things like this available to people like me who love to display the messages of hope and survival.I have had breast cancer for 6 years; I have only been in remission for 18 months back in 1998. I have had two more reoccurrences but I’m receiving treatment and am proud to say I’m still around to tell people that it can be done. You need a positive attitude, good support, good doctors, and most of all, prayer.”Thanks again,Joanne Traina

 “Your hats arrived at Karmanos just before the holidays, and were truly a highlight of celebration. The lights that sparkled in the eyes of the patients that we “gifted” were similar to the lights strung on the holiday trees. Everyone who saw them wanted one, the staff tried to sweet talk us into sharing stating “we need a little hope”-it didn’t work! Thanks for creating such an “uplifting ray of HOPE.” Sharon Cure, Director Patient and Family Support Services Karmanos Cancer InstituteJoan and DeeDee attended the Oncology Nursing Society Conference in San Diego.We met oncology nurses from all over the world and heard many wonderful stories. What an incredibly caring, dedicated group. We will be working with them to help find ways of making our hats available to all people going through treatment.“Oncology nurses Dory and Noemi
love the hats”

”Our hats travel back to Singapore with Eleanor”“Diane Turnbull, an oncology nurse from Duke University brought us to tears with her incredible story.” 
Copyright © 2006
Hats of HopePlease send any comments regarding this website to hatsofhope
n The NewsHATS PROVIDE CHARITY-EVENT RUNNERS WITH HOPE AND FUNDSFebruary 12, 2004 (Lexington, MA) – Runners and walkers in charity-fundraising events have found a new way to stay motivated, keep the sun off their faces, and raise funds with hats of hope™.  These unique caps and visors, which feature inspiring quotes inside the crown and the embroidered word “Hope” on the underside of the brim, have long been a favorite of cancer patients and survivors, and are now being worn and sold by event runners to keep their purpose in sight and in mind.

Hats of hope™ recently entered into an agreement with the New England Chapter of the American Diabetes Association to provide the official hat of the America’s Walk for Diabetes event in October.  Beginning in April, customized ADA hats will be available for purchase through (click on MA page), as well as directly through hats of hope,  Walkers, runners, and supporters of ADA’s mission of Cure. Care. Committment are being encouraged to purchase hats to supplement fundraising efforts. Forty percent of the $20 price per hat will go directly to the ADA New England Chapter.

Other organizations including Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Affiliates and the National Wellness Community have also started to wear and sell hats of hope.

Supporting causes they believe in, in addition to providing hope and inspiration to people, has been a part of the ethos of this company of three women since its inception in 1998.  “We started making our hats with messages to help friends and family who were going through difficult times,” says Joan Yarmovsky of hats of hope™.  “It seemed natural, as we started selling the hats, that we would dedicate a portion of our profits to charities that provide hope.  We’re delighted to be partnering with American Diabetes Association to help raise greater awareness and funds.”

Runners, walkers and event-organizers interested in purchasing the hats for themselves or to raise funds can contact hats of hope at 800.460.1708 for more information.

The American Diabetes Association is the nation’s leading nonprofit health organization providing diabetes research, information and advocacy.  Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association conducts programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, reaching more than 800 communities.Hats of hope™, founded in 1998 by Joan Yarmovsky, Dee Dee Pike and Wendy Friedman, creates and sells hats and with inspirational messages.THE MONICA R. WEINSTEIN HAT BANKOn October 3, 2002 we lost an inspirational presence in our lives. Monica R. Weinstein, age 37, died after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. We were fortunate to know Monica in her roles as educator to our children and social activist. After receiving one of our hats, Monica took them on as one of her personal causes. After 9/11, she helped children to raise funds for purchase of the hats and then personally took them to NYC where she was asked to deliver them directly to families that had lost someone. During her own difficult struggle with the side effects of medications, Monica’s heart was with others. She saw children who were going through treatment and asked us to donate hats to them. Again, she personally delivered them. Inspired by Monica, 18 of her friends formed the “Move for Monica “ team. Wearing their hats of hope, they participated in the City of Hope’s Walk For Hope fundraiser.Whatever Monica went through, her mind and heart were always focused on the next thing she could do to help others. She inspired us with her courage, her caring and her ability to bring HOPE to others.To honor her life, we have created the MONICA R. WEINSTEIN HAT BANK. In addition to donating money to various organizations, we use part of our proceeds to fund a Hat Bank, providing hats to hospitals, clinics and support groups.Hat donations can be made by clicking here.Partial List of Recipients:American Cancer Society GA
Art For Hope MA
Camp Make a Dream MT
City of Hope CA
Dana Farber Cancer Institute MA
Emerson Hosp. Bethke Cancer Center MA
Emory Hospital GA
Friends for Hope KY
Happiness is Camping
Jimmy Fund Clinic at the Dana Farber MA
John R. Marsh Cancer Center MD
Kids in Need MA
Lowell General Cancer Center MA
Marian Cancer Center CA
Massachusetts General Hospital MA
Neely House MA
Sharsharet NJ
Sibley Memorial Hospital DC
St. Jude Hospital and Research Center TN
St. Rose Hospital, NV NV
Tampa Hope Lodge FL
Univ. Of Kansas Med. Center. KS
Y-ME ILHats of Hope are en route to NYCby Diana Brown, Northwest Notebook Column of Boston Sunday Globe – October 7, 2001When Joan Yarmovsky and her business partners teamed up two years ago to make hats emblazoned with messages of hope, they were thinking of their friends going through chemotherapy.Then came Sept. 11. The four partners in Hats of Hope in Lexington looked at their denim blue hat with a red brim and white writing and had an idea. They sent 100 caps to the firefighters in New York City.“We decided this hat is for anyone struggling and going through a hard time,” Yarmovsky said.Under the brim of the hat is the word “hope,” so the wearer can look up and see it at a glance. Inside each hat is one of two sets of phrases. One set includes: “The only courage that matters is the one that gets you from one moment to the next” (Mignon McLaughlin); “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet” (Helen Keller); “Sigh. Sob. Scream. Laugh. Repeat.”; and “Do the thing you think you cannot do” (Eleanor Roosevelt).The other version’s phrases are: “A river flows around stones and finds its own way”; “Crazy times call for crazy actions”; “Whatever it takes”; and “I can get there from here.””We had a lot of friends going through treatment for cancer, and we decided words help people get through hard times,” Yarmovsky said.So they put their words in an easy place for people to find inspiration at a glance and started distributing them to hospital gift shops and to nurses to hand out free to chemotherapy patients.The hat touched a cord with one of the rescue workers. In an e-mail to Yarmovsky, Al Juliano, president of Mid-Atlantic Regional Search and Rescue from Absecon, N.J., wrote: “The positive messages of hope inside reminded me that in all of the stories of courage we heard and saw in all of the acts of kindness shown to us by the citizens of New York, the most enduring memory I carry with me is this recurring one of ‘Hope,'” he wrote.”We sometimes never know what ripple effect our work will have, but I can tell you that every time I look at my Hat of Hope, I will remember the people of New York and I know that they will pull through this.”During the last two years, Yarmovsky and her partners, Dee Dee Pike and Wendy Friedman, both of Lexington, and Pamela Bennett of Stamford, Conn., said they sold 10,000 hats, with a portion of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the American Pain Foundation.Now, 50 percent of the sales on the $20 red, white, and blue hats will go to the American Red Cross. Yarmovsky said she hopes that “in the days ahead and in the trauma ahead, these hats will help.”For more information about Hats of Hope, call 781-862-7603 or visit their Web site at
Hats off to women with inspiration:
Message-bearing caps offer words of hope

by Kathleen Cordeiro, Staff Writer, Lexington Minuteman – September 7, 2000Dee Dee Pike, Joan Yarmovsky and Pamela Bennett are extending a message of hope to people they will never meet. In fact, they have several such messages, and they keep them all under their hats.Pike and Yarmovsky, from Lexington, and Bennett, from Derry, N.H., are three women with backgrounds in helping professions who joined forces a year ago to create Hats of Hope–unisex, baseball-type caps with the word “Hope” embroidered under the brim, and inspirational messages silk-screened inside. The caps are sold almost exclusively in locations where hope is a vital commodity for health.Their mission, the women say, is to help others get through hard times by mustering their inner resources. The hats, with messages that are sometime humorous and sometimes poignant, are intended to help people draw upon their own emotional strength.The women derived their inspiration from personal involvement with people dealing with serious illness, in particular women who had lost their hair to cancer-related chemotherapy treatments.”We were all involved in different things,” Pike explained. “Pamela is a nurse consultant; Joan is a teacher; I’m a psychologist and I also had been working with people who have chronic illness. We had all been bumping up against people coping with hard times. And we were really struck by their words. We were so astounded by what people said to themselves to get through.””We started there,” Yarmovsky said…”And everything fell into place,” said Bennett.Hats of Hope was born and the trio, admitted neophytes in sales and marketing, forged ahead with what they knew was a good idea.”We went all the way,” Yarmovsky said. “We bought 3,000 hats without anyone to buy them.”The business women assembled three message groups; each hat has one group containing four selections. Messages include the words of Eleanor Roosevelt (“Do the thing you think you cannot do”) and Gilda Radner (“I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.”); and sayings such as “Sigh. Sob. Scream. Laugh. Repeat,” and “A river flows around stones and finds its own way.”Even the Hats of Hope logo, a flower blooming from an upsidedown baseball cap, bears a message. “When you’re going through a crisis, your life is upside down,” Yarmovsky said.With 3,000 hats in their hands, the women began their business by visiting hospital gift shops. The response was positive, and Hats of Hope are now available in locations including the Gillette Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Lahey Clinic, and the oncology center at Mass. General Hospital; at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona; and at the Rosie O’Donnell Center in New York.That exposure, combined with a Web site presence, has led to other venues for the hats.”We have people use them on (benefit) walks, we’ve had people buy them for friends, we’ve had people buy them for cancer centers,” Pike said. Hats of Hope were sold this year at the PanMass Challenge. And the women know that an entire support group wore the hats during a recent Relay for Life in Portland.”It’s not just people who are sick,” Bennett explained. “A lot of people are going through a difficult time,” including divorce or bereavement. “My step-mom has MS and she says she loves her hat. She says it’s something she can pass on. It’s meaningful to her.”Some people buy a hat to wear in support of another person going through a difficult time, Pike said. And, added Bennett, there was one woman who bought hats for each of five oncology nurses.”People who buy our hats all have a story to tell,” Yarmovsky said.And some people tell those stories on the Hats of Hope Web site. “We think it’s important for people to share their stories. When you share your story, you share part of who you are,” Bennett said. The Web site has stories, messages, and even photos, with an on-line photo album recently added to the site.Fortified by such a promising beginning, the women already are looking ahead. They are considering designs for other types of hats. They would also like to work more closely with foundations and organizations to have Hats of Hope used in fund-raisers. And perhaps closest to their hearts is a mission to find funding to enable every person undergoing hospital treatment for an illness such as cancer to have a hat on their head.Hats of Hope retail for $20; partial proceeds support the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the American Pain Foundation. Hats of Hope can be reached by phone at 781-862-7603, by fax at 781-862-7603, and at Web site
Hats of Hope Bring Inspiration and Cheer to Those in Need of Support

by Susie Davidson, Advocate Correspondent, The Jewish Advocate – June 14-20, 2002LEXINGTON – In the face of personal challenge, there is often no better therapy than the caring support of others, be they individuals or groups. Joan Yarmovsky, Dee Dee Pike and Wendy Friedman’s unusually altruistic venture goes to the hat of the matter, so to speak. Since 1999, they have manufactured “hats of hope” baseball caps, embroidered with messages of support, inspiration and encouragement. The company began as the brainchild of the three women, each coming from a different arena but familiar with the struggles people go through as they face illness.”When we began, we were three women with different backgrounds,” says Yarmovsky. (Pike, a psychologist, was working with people who had chronic illness, Yarmovsky was an educator, and Friedman an MBA working in the nonprofit/healthcare area.) “Although we came from varied places, we’ve all been moved by being part of people’s struggles.”The women, who had friends in treatment for cancer, began distributing their product to hospital gift shops and nurses, who handed them out free to chemotherapy patients. Not surprisingly, they caught on; 10,000 were sold in the first two years alone.The 100 percent cotton hats are purposefully, yet whimsically designed. Under the brim is the word “hope,” which is viewable at all times by the wearer. Varied phrases line the insides. For “Hair Loss,” two of the messages are: “I’d rather my hair than my mind,” and “I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch” (Gilda Radner). The “Inspirational” group includes “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet,” (Helen Keller) and “Sigh. Sob. Scream. Laugh. Repeat.”One of the series features folk singer Debbie Friedman and Rabbi Drorah Setel’s reworking of the Jewish prayer for the sick, Mi Shebeirach: “Mi Shebeirach imoteinu, m’kor habracha l’avonteinu. Bless those in need of healing with r’fua sh’leima, The renewal of spirit, And let us say, Amen.” After Sept. 11, they sent 100 to NYC firefighters. A rescue worker called them his “most enduring memory.”They recently attended the Oncology Nursing Society Meeting in D.C. “Novartis Pharmaceuticals gave out 7000 of our hats to nurses,” says Yarmovsky. “Each had special messages acknowledging their care and heart.”A Jewish chaplain at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas decided to give our Mi Shebeirach hats out to Jewish patients receiving treatment for cancer. We also had several rabbis purchase the hats with discretionary funds to give to people in the congregation who are in need of healing. Wear Hope … Give Hope continues.”They will be attending the CAJE (Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education) conference in San Antonio in August.The hats carry financial support as well. A portion of their proceeds go to the American Cancer Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the American Pain Foundation. The Mi Shebeirach hats help Hadassah and Chai Lifeline, and since Sept. 11, half of the selling price of the $20 red, white and blue hats has gone to the American Red Cross. Hats of Hope are available at, or in hospital gift shops nationwide. They are offered for $10 to any groups such as synagogues, schools or community organizations who wish to use the hats in social action projects.
Capping Treatment With Bits of Hope

by Aliza Phillips, Forward – December 28, 2001For those undergoing chemotherapy who could stand some uplift, Hats of Hope, a company based in Lexington, Mass., manufactures baseball caps embroidered with words of prayer and encouragement.”We unfortunately had friends and family who were struggling through cancer treatment,” said Joan Yarmovsky, a former French teacher who with two business partners founded Hats of Hope in 1999. “We talked a lot about how words help people get to the other side.”The 100% cotton caps have “hope” emblazoned on the underside of the brim and inspirational quotes or motivational phrases printed under the crown. They come in four varieties: “hair loss,” “inspirational,” “you can do it” and the latest addition to the collection, a cap that features lyrics from folksinger Debbie Friedman and Rabbi Drorah Setel’s rendition of “Mi Shebeirach,” the Jewish prayer for the sick. “Mi shebeirach imoteinu/ m’kor habracha l’avoteinu/Bless those in need of healing/ With r’fua sh’leima,/ The renewal of body,/ The renewal of spirit,/ And let us say, Amen,” the hat says.A portion of the proceeds from the “Mi Shebeirach” hats go to Hadassah and Chai Lifeline, an organization dedicated to “fighting illness with love.” Some of the proceeds from the other hats go to victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Hats of Hope are available for $20 online at or in hospital gift shops across the country. Synagogues, schools and other organizations looking to give the hats as part of a social-action project may purchase the hats for $10.