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Carrying Hope to Women Facing Cancer

Hope Scarves organization gets its scarves cleaned by Highland Cleaners

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a six-year-old partnership with an organization that provides free head scarves to women facing cancer treatments, notes Highland Cleaners, it has cleaned more than 8,000 scarves, which have been shipped to cancer patients in all 50 states and 16 foreign countries. 

Hope Scarves, is an organization based here, that collects donated head scarves and sends them to women who have recently been diagnosed with cancer.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 30 years old and seven months pregnant,” says Lara MacGregor, founder of Hope Scarves. “A stranger — a friend of a friend — sent me her head scarves with a simple note: ‘You can do this.’

“That simple act of compassion gave me strength and hope at a key moment in my life. That moment was the inspiration for Hope Scarves.”

Every week, Hope Scarves staff take donated scarves into this cleaners, where they are cleaned free of charge.

Many women who receive the scarves return them once they are ready — and so some of the scarves have been handed from woman to woman. Each time, they are cleaned with care, relates Highland Cleaners.

“Giving back to the community is a key part of our business model,” says Michael Jones, Highlands Cleaner owner.

“We love working with Hope Scarves because the work we do for them is core to their mission. When women receive a lovely, wrapped scarf from Hope Scarves they know that it was given in love, packed with hope and cleaned with care,” he says.

For women facing hair loss during their treatment, the scarf provides practical support. All recipients, whether they lose their hair or not, receive the scarf with a story of encouragement from another woman who has faced cancer — often the same woman who previously wore that scarf.

This locally-owned cleaners has served Kentucky’s largest city since 1944, and has previously been recognized for its outstanding commitment to philanthropy, with both cash and in-kind donations, it writes.

“Partners like Highland are what make our efforts possible,” says MacGregor. “They care for the scarves that carry hope to women throughout the world.”

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From left, Sharon McKenna, Highland Cleaners manager; Anne Nash, Highland Cleaners president; Lara MacGregor, Hope Scarves founder; Katie Windham, Hope Scarves program and volunteer coordinator; Tonya Carman, Highland Cleaners spotting manager; and, Erica Bricking, Hope Scarves program director. (Photos: Highland Cleaners)

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Tonya Carman, spotting manager for Highland Cleaners, counts the scarves before cleaning. The Hope Scarves staff drops off a load of scarves each week. All of the scarves are donated by women around the country and shared with women undergoing cancer treatment. Highland has cleaned more than 8,000 scarves.

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Sharon McKenna, manager at Highland Cleaners, hangs newly cleaned scarves for pickup. Once cleaned, these scarves are added to the Hope Scarves closet and sent to women (and some men) who are facing cancer treatment. Many women use the scarves to help cope with hair loss. Others, including those who don’t lose their hair, wear them around their shoulders or hold them during cancer treatment to feel the support of other women who have faced cancer.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].