Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chemo Care Package Ideas

Confession...I'm one of "those people" who change the TV channel when I see telethons for children with cancer. I avoid images of suffering children for the reasons you would suspect; but mainly because I've never wanted to think it could happen to my own kids, or to a child in my family.

My thirteen year old niece has cancer. 

Use a soft long-sleeve t-shirt to make a matching chemo cap and cup cozy: from STEMmom.orgMaggie (not her real name) has been sick since November, but didn't get her diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lympomia until mid December. In the world of cancer, this one has the best prognosis, so for that we are thankful. However, the next year will take its toll on her, her body, and her family. 

I imagine there are many who could articulate this better than me, but I feel so hopeless. I want to help the family, comfort them, provide help when I can, without being too pushy. I want them to know we are praying for the family, but I'm scared I'll say the wrong thing. 

Maggie has asked for fun hats to wear when her hair falls out (long beautiful blond hair). This project has helped me deal with her sickness and allows me to do something constructive! I've researched what chemo patients prefer, what is popular, and what is comfortable. I am surprised not to find many tips for kids going through chemo, but maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. If you know where to go to get ideas, please let me know.

I went to a thrift shop and found lots of fabrics and scarves, and I'm hoping to sew some great head coverings after Christmas. But for now, I'm providing t-shirt caps, flower clips,  scarves, and store bought hats.  I was amazed to find out, that using really soft t-shirts is preferred by patients for around the house and for sleeping. You simply cut the the shirt under the arm pits to create a tube, put the finished edge on your forehead, and then twist the remainder at the nape of your neck.  Although I found this great tutorial for how to customize the t-shirt cap at Fehr Trade. Maybe when I see Maggie I can get her head measurements and make it fitted for her!

I found some wonderfully soft long-sleeve shirts and after I cut below the arms I realized that the sleeves would make a nice cup cozy for some hot chocolate or coffee! You could decorate your cozy with buttons and other embellishments; but I'm leaving mine plain.

Chemo cap with matching coffee (or cocoa) mug cozy: from

While doing my research, I found this really great video from Esther, a cancer patient who made a video teaching others how use the t-shirt as a cap and how to dress it up with scarves. I was humbled by her tutorial, and it has helped me to put together a care package for my niece. If you like, you can watch the video below. 

In my chemo care package for my thirteen year-old niece, I'm including a cute fleece store bought owl hat that I think will feel good on her head, and but cute and fun at the same time.  Then I made two t-shirt caps and cup cozies. I'm also adding several flower clips and scarves to allow Maggie to accessorize the t-shirt caps.

Tips for putting together a Chemo Care Package for a Tween age girl: from
If you don't know anyone with cancer but love crafting, there are a number of organizations that distribute head coverings made by people like you. So, if this interests you, check out Halos of Hope, Crochet University Charity, or Head Huggers

I would LOVE feedback from chemo patients on your favorite head coverings, or from others who have assembled chemo kits for those they love. 


  1. My mum has something similar to the cap you made for your niece, except that it being winter she owns it in polar fleece. :) They're great hats!

    1. Yeah, I think fleece would feel nice and cozy this time of year! I've heard from other chemo patients that caps-smaller than you'd wear during the day-are nice for sleeping in. We take for granted how much our hair helps keep the heat in! Thanks Erin for your comment!


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