(Orange, Texas)

September 22, 2013

Donation box awaits hats

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — An empty box awaits hats for children with cancer.

It’s almost time for the seventh annual Cancer Mad Hatter day. The event is held each year on October 6. Hats Off For Cancer collects and donates kid appropriate hats of all kinds to the courageous children who lose their hair due to cancer treatments.

Center Stage Boutique, located at 521 South Highway 87 Suite B in Orange, is participating in the hat drive. The store is collecting new kid-friendly hats until September 30, 2013. From beanies to baseball caps

Evelyn Taylor, owner of Center Stage Boutique, is concerned about the number of hats collected thus far.

“I want those babies to have a warm head this winter,” Taylor said.

As of press time, the number of hats collected is zero. Quite the difference from the first hat drive sponsored by the boutique in 2011. The store collected 487 hats the first year participating in the hat drive.

The first year Taylor had hopes she would be able to collect 25 hats when she originally started at the beginning of the month.

The hats donated during the first drive came from all over the county. A lady brought in 81 hats that were collected from Deweyville High School and Calvary Baptist Church in Deweyville for the hat drive.

Not all hats were from local residents, Carol Kelsch from Utah sent 20 crocheted hats for the cause. Kelsch lost her daughter the previous December to cancer and wanted to do something to help.

The hats are sent to Hats Off For Cancer to be distributed to children who lose their hair due to cancer treatments. The organizations checks locally first to see if any area residents have sent in a request for a hat with the remaining hats distributed nation-wide. Each hat has a personal note attached stating who it is donated from when it is given to the child.

The adult hats collected by Center Stage Boutique in 2011 were donated to the American Cancer Society in Beaumont and the children size hats at Children's Cancer Hospital in Houston.

Hats Off For Cancer has collected hats for children across the country since 1996.  Tara Lawrence formed the organization with the mission of easing a child’s disappointment at losing their hair due to cancer treatments.

“Previously we received hats from all over the country,” Taylor said. “I hope it is still in people’s minds.”

Center Stage Boutique is open Mon. - Fri. noon to 5:30 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

To request a hat for a child or young adult up to age 21 with cancer go to