The Get Well Gang is a group of people who knit and crochet hats to donate to patients suffering hair loss resulting from cancer treatment.
The group was founded in Gananoque, Ontario by Gretchen Huntley as a way to memorialize her dear friend, Celeste Rausch. Ms. Huntley was working at developing a hat pattern that would be suitable and gave the first one to a TD Canada Trust Bank employee for her sister to wear during her cancer treatments. The women who work in the bank loved the look of the hat and were delighted with the idea of lending support to women facing this most difficult time in their lives. Not only did they start crocheting hats, they also launched a fundraiser to offset the cost of supplies and postage to see the hats get to where they are needed most.
The idea and the hats just took off! To date The Get Well Gang has given away over 24,000 hats in over 76 locations across Canada. The hats are made of soft cotton so they are comfortable for the patients to wear. They come in colors as varied as the imaginations of the people who make them.....something for everyone.
ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY EXCHANGES HANDS! These are a gift of caring from The Get Well Gang to the recipient. To personalize the gift, each hat carries a card signed by the person who handcrafted the hat. Even people who don’t crochet wanted to get involved so some cards are signed by the person who generously donated to supply the materials.
The hats have been so well received that the project is larger and farther reaching every day. We have hats in about 20 locations across the province of Ontario including all of the Regional Cancer Centers. We have even sent hats to Iqaluit. Email interest has been received from any number of places, including a correctional facility in Wisconsin! No one is considered insignificant in this project and we are happy to accommodate individual requests.
Hat patterns are free to anyone interested in getting involved in our project. Our patterns now include both knit and crocheted patterns for women, as well as a pattern for a crocheted man's cap and a child's crocheted hat pattern. Patterns are sent along with each initial shipment of hats in the hope that people will get involved in their area and help us keep our project alive.
Feedback from the various locations and individuals has been wonderfully gratifying. We are at the point where some centers have replenished their supply more than once and are coming to depend on the project to fill a need. Not everyone wants or can afford a wig and the hats offer a fashionable, no cost alternative.
Every member of The Get Well Gang wishes that these hats were not needed, but sadly enough this is not the case. We plan to continue our project as long as we can brighten the day of someone undergoing cancer treatment, while wishing for the day cancer has been beaten so we can joyfully move on.