Sisterhood of the traveling scarves

Hope Scarves founder finds way to spread hope to women with cancer

Lara MacGregor is an endearing spirit — and enduring spirit. She has used her experience with cancer to be a light of hope for other women going through the same journey.

MacGregor was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 at age 30, seven months pregnant with her second son.

A woman she had never met, but with whom she shared a mutual friend, sent her a package. Inside were beautiful scarves she wore during cancer treatment and a note saying, “You can do this.” Knowing someone else had worn the scarves and faced cancer helped MacGregor believe she could do it too. And she did.

Several years later, in 2012, while reflecting on her treatment, she had an idea for a way to share with other women fighting cancer that same hope she felt when she received the scarves. That’s when Hope Scarves was born.

After almost seven years cancer-free, however, she was diagnosed with cancer again in 2014. This time it was stage IV metastatic breast cancer. The scarves were once again an important part of her cancer journey, just as they had been for other women.

Norton Cancer Institute and Hope Scarves have partnered together for the past five years to help women facing cancer treatment.

After making a request, the recipient receives a scarf along with the stories of the women who wore it before her. The scarves are available at all Norton Cancer Institute outpatient offices and resource centers, or you can request one at

When the recipient is finished using the scarf, she can add her own story and return it to a Norton Cancer Institute Resource Center or send it back to Hope Scarves. The scarf will be professionally cleaned and sent to another woman along with its stories. Each scarf comes in bright, cheerful packaging and includes a story and scarf-tying instructions.

“The scarf is the vehicle for the story of support,” MacGregor said. “We are the ‘sisterhood of traveling scarves’ and want each scarf recipient to take courage in the fact that another woman has walked this journey before her.”

A scarf can be requested by any patient, even if she does not experience hair loss, or a loved one of a patient. Last year, 300 scarves were provided to Norton Cancer Institute patients. This year, Norton Cancer Institute and Hope Scarves hope to provide even more scarves to patients.  If you would like to donate a scarf, mail it or drop it off at any Norton Cancer Institute Resource Center.

For more information about Hope Scarves at Norton Cancer Institute, contact Kerrie Fullen at (502) 629-6717.


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