This 13-Year-Old's 'Hatsgiving' Idea Is Helping Cancer Patients Stay Warm

He helped donate 2,710 hats just this year.

When Jeremy Wernick was in the second grade, he signed up to shave his head to support the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a non-profit organization to raise money for cancer research.  

Jeffrey Wernick, Jeremy's father, told A Plus via email how the donation was just the start of Jeremy's philanthropy. "There was a sign up at his school and he decided he wanted to help. He immediately went to the principal's office and signed up. When he found out that after a certain number of years, you could become a Knight of the Bald Table, he was all in."

After his second year of donating his locks, the 8-year-old quickly realized that the winter weather was hard for people with no hair. When his mom made him a hat to keep warm, Jeremy came up with the idea that kids who had lost their hair from chemotherapy treatment would appreciate warm hats, too.

From that idea, Hatsgiving was born. The project aims to collect donated new winter hats for pediatric cancer patients so they will be more comfortable in colder months.



During Hatsgiving's inaugural launch in 2013, 226 hats were donated from just one collection site.

The hats were given to the Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center, and each year Jeremy and Hatsgiving have been receiving more and more generous donations.

Fast-forward a few years later to 2016, and Hatsgiving collected an impressive 2,710 hats thanks to donations from professional sports teams, knitting organizations, and Lids. The hats are being delivered to different pediatric cancer centers across 14 states.

Jeffrey amazing work is, of course, appreciated, and his father notes that his motives are purely selfless. He told A Plus that until this past year, the family had no connection to any kids with cancer. "He just wanted to help. This year, through my daughter's gymnastics team, we've been helping a little girl with cancer, but until then, we had no personal connection."

To deliver hats to more kids, Hatsgiving partnered with Pitney Bowes, a provider of mailing and messaging equipment, to help cover their rising shipping costs. In one year, the shipping costs went from $100 to $600, so Jeremy's father reached out to the company for assistance.

Now at 13, Jeremy has shaved his head six times to help kids with cancer, and Hatsgiving continues to grow. His father wrote that Jeremy hopes to send more hats to more hospitals across the country.

If you want to get involved, Wernick explains that hats are collected between Halloween and Thanksgiving and it's easy to set up a collection site. "Anyone can set up a collection site and then send us the hats. We had people sending hats this year from as far away as Arizona and South Carolina. We had a school in Connecticut collect hundreds of hats. And the company, Lids, sent us almost 900 hats," he added, "The hats have to be new or handmade. That's one of the reasons we sort all the hats, to make sure we don't send any used hats to hospitals where kids have compromised immune systems. We have all of this information at hatsgiving.org also. Anyone can email us with questions to info@hatsgiving.org."

Check out the video below to find out more about Hatsgiving:



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