HATS OFF TO A GREAT CAUSE
Cancer is a diagnosis that nobody ever wants to hear. But when it’s childhood cancer, the disease comes with even more stress, anxiety and fear.
For one local family, the harsh reality of childhood cancer lit the spark of inspiration and urge to fight back against the fear with hope and love. Out of this terrible disease, something truly wonderful was born – the creation of Booboo’s Beanies, a thriving business enterprise and charitable endeavour based right here in Haldimand.
The story begins with a beautiful little girl named Eden, also known as Booboo. “As it does for so many others, cancer hit too close to home for our family when our daughter, Eden, was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma,” explains Eden’s mom, Tracy. Just like thousands of other children forced to face this diagnosis, Eden would have to endure multiple rounds of chemotherapy, eventually causing her to lose her hair.
To show their support and solidarity for Eden’s bravery and courage throughout her cancer battle, her family decided to get matching beanies for Eden and her three cousins, with whom she’s very close. It seemed like a small thing, but it made a big difference in how the family felt. The beanies were a symbol of strength, resilience and, above all, love.
Soon, other patients and their families at the hospital began noticing and asking about the stylish beanies. Eden’s mom, Tracy, along with her aunt, Beth, decided to have some beanies made for other kids who were also going through chemo treatments at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Tracy posted the idea on Facebook and, in less than two weeks, an incredible $1,200 had been donated and Booboo’s Beanies was officially born.
Though originally intended to provide some comfort for children undergoing cancer treatment, others at the hospital and in the community began asking where they could get their own beanies. “That’s when we realized we were onto something bigger, something that could make an even greater impact,” says Tracy. “When we saw the demand and interest from all kinds of people in the community who wanted beanies, we adopted the ‘buy one-give one’ concept.”
When you purchase one of their beanies for yourself, or as a gift for someone, Booboo’s Beanies will donate another one to a child cancer patient. “It’s really a win-win situation,” notes Tracy. Conceived as way to make as big an impact as possible, the ‘buy one-give one’ concept has proven to be extremely successful.
One visit to its website, booboosbeanies.com, and you’ll see the wide assortment of available products to choose from. Extending beyond its signature selection of stylishly comfortable beanies, Booboo’s Beanies now offers headbands, greeting cards, and peripherally-inserted central catheter (PICC) line cover sleeves. “It’s about making the ordeal of going through cancer treatment a little easier for children, a little less scary,” says Tracy.
With its quality products and generous donations, Booboo’s Beanies has distinguished itself as an incredible local organization. Today, after having donated over 100 beanies to the oncology clinic at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, the Booboo’s Beanie’s team continues to be supportive and giving.
“I never would have expected to hear that my child has cancer,” says Tracy. “But thankfully, her treatment has been successful. Now, my life’s passion is to spread awareness about childhood cancer through Booboo’s Beanies. It’s the good that came out of the bad.”
Since starting in 2017, Booboo’s Beanies’ sales have increased significantly. Now, they not only regularly supply five hospitals in Ontario, but they’ve expanded to six more across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. “Our goal is that one day every kid going through chemotherapy in Canada will have a Booboo’s Beanie,” states Tracy proudly.
Tracy and her family openly share their story because they have learned from personal experience that, “No one fights alone.” We all need each other and small actions can go a long way. “Our eyes have been opened to the world of childhood cancer,” says Tracy. “We have fallen in love with all the kids and families that we’ve met along the way. And we want to continue to make a difference in the world of childhood cancer.”
Fortunately, making a difference in the life of a child battling cancer is as easy as visiting the Booboo Beanie’s website and picking out your very own super-cool beanie.
Haldimand County gratefully acknowledges the support of FedDev Ontario for tourism businesses in Ontario’s Southwest.