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“Chemo Caps” Bring Comfort During Journey to Healing

Tuesday, August 21 2012

Left to right, LRCC patient Shirley McHale wearing one of Mary Kleintop’s “chemo caps.”

It started with a phone conversation in 2005, when Mary Ann Kleintop, a Polk County resident, had a friend going through chemotherapy in Pennsylvania. 

 “The chemo was going well, but she said her wig was so tight it gave her a headache,” explained Kleintop.

 Wanting to comfort her friend in some small way, Kleintop bought a pattern and the softest yarn she could find. Just days later, her friend had a package in the mail – a new knitted cap. Kleintop’s friend noted how beautiful and comfortable it was. Then, she requested one in every color.

 Now, eight years later, Kleintop has found great joy in making chemo caps for others fighting cancer.  Although she didn’t start counting until 2006, her current tally is well over one thousand. 

“Going through chemotherapy is traumatic, and if this is a way I can make someone feel better, then that’s what I wanted to do,” said Kleintop.

 It’s hard for Kleintop to keep her stock up, since these caps are in high demand. She donates up to 40 each month for Lakeland Regional Cancer Center patients, and has also donated to the American Cancer Association.  Shirley McHale, an LRCC patient undergoing chemotherapy, said she is thankful for Kleintop’s talent and generosity.

 “These hats are so soft and so bright. Some days, there are few things that can bring you comfort, but these hats have a way of doing that for me,” said McHale.   

 Thank you, Ms. Kleintop, for making a difference in the lives of patients!

 For more information about Lakeland Regional Cancer Center and other ways they help patients find healing and comfort, please call 863- 603-6565 or toll free at 1-866-823-4405.

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