By Jessica Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope
Almost everyone can think of a moment where they knew their life was about to change. For me, my moment was right before my 20th birthday in the summer of 2011.
I was interning with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and every day, I got to wake up and grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. I took day trips to visit the wish kids at their houses and bring them their favorite toys. We received hundreds of letters from wish children that said we changed their lives – but little did they know they were changing mine.
I thought about the thousands of girls around the world who lose their hair to chemotherapy. Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem, but losing their hair as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic.
Headbands, I realized, would be the perfect way for these girls to keep their feminine identity and have a constant reminder that they’re not alone. And with that, was the start of Headbands of Hope.
But this wouldn’t just be a headband company – this would be a company that makes a difference in the fight against childhood cancers. For every headband purchased, one headband will go to a girl with cancer and $1 will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.
Why fund research? Because research is the difference for kids fighting cancer. It is certainly fun and fulfilling to see a little girl’s face light up in her hospital room when she receives her Headband of Hope, but I’m constantly reminded that there still isn’t a cure and this is why research is so important.
Progress can’t be made without research. Research can’t be done without funding, and funding can’t be done without awareness.
Headbands of Hope aims to start with awareness and work with St. Baldrick’s to end with a cure. Together, we can spread hope in all girls… one headband at a time.