December 28, 2012, Toms River, NJ - As an oncology nurse in Community Medical Center’s Outpatient Infusion Center, Jackie Britton, RN, ONC, doesn’t just help patients in their fight against cancer—she helps them cope with the effects of cancer treatment, too.
Jackie and her colleagues regularly distribute scarves, hats and wigs to help women camouflage hair loss that often accompanies chemotherapy. Over time, she realized that the programs that exist to help women feel better about their appearance during chemotherapy rarely recognize men’s struggle with chemotherapy-related hair loss.
“We never had anything to offer to male patients who were losing their hair,” said Jackie, who used this realization to create Caps for Chaps, a program that collects then distributes hats to men undergoing chemotherapy at CMC’s Outpatient Infusion Center.
“My real inspiration for this cause came when a young man in his 40s came in for treatment. He was losing his hair, and all he had was a dirty baseball cap to cover his head. It touched me, and I just felt so bad that we didn’t have anything to offer him,” said Jackie.
By soliciting professional and local sports teams, local businesses and individuals, Jackie has been able to collect hats to offer to male cancer patients. Local minor league baseball team, the Lakewood BlueClaws, even donated hats to Caps for Chaps to support fans fighting cancer.
“The patients are so grateful. They feel like someone is taking care of them and their feelings, too,” said Jackie. “There are so many programs available to help women, so it’s nice to do something for men battling this disease.”
Although Jackie has been able to provide hats to several male patients, she describes the response for donations as less-than-ideal, and the supply is dwindling. Those interested in donating to Caps for Chaps are asked to contact the Outpatient Infusion Center at 732.557.8013.
CONTACT: Jean M. Flaherty
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