Wrapped in hope: How scarves are bringing comfort to breast cancer patients in West Allis

Wrapped in hope: How scarves are bringing comfort to breast cancer patients in West Allis

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A local hospital has a new way to provide light and joy to women fighting cancer.

Katja Woods is no stranger to Aurora West Allis' cancer center.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2010.

"I was here every week for six months," Woods said.

Eight months after her diagnosis, Woods won her fight. Since then, she's wanted to do more to help others with the disease.

"Giving back to the care I received, paying it forward, and bringing some joy," Woods said.

So, when her company, Retail Space Solutions, became a sponsor for Hope Scarves, she felt a special connection.

"It was just a natural fit," Woods said.

Hope Scarves was started in 2012 by a woman named Lara MacGregor, who was battling breast cancer.

The organization collects scarves, along with personal stories from cancer survivors, and passes them on to other patients.

"Having something that is tangible, that can wrap you and embrace you, you can hold onto," Woods said. "You know that this scarf was worn by someone who had the exact same experience."

MacGregor passed away last year, but her legacy lives on.

"Thirty-thousand scarves have traveled the world. They have gone to all 50 states and 36 countries," said Anna Laura Edwards, the executive director of Hope Scarves.

Now, hundreds of Hope Scarves will find a home at Aurora West Allis, in a partnership with Retail Space Solutions.

"There's a community out there, a sisterhood of survivors who are all cheering for you as you're going through your own journey," Woods said.

Their first two scarves were handed out Wednesday morning, serving as a reminder to patients to keep up the fight.

"It means a lot more than people can even begin to express or say words," said breast cancer patient, Jennifer Johnston.

"Gives you hope that you're going to make it through, too," said breast cancer patient, Chelsey Bortman.

Scarves alone can't save lives, so the Hope Scarves organization has raised more than $1 million in donations towards metastatic breast cancer research.

Click here to learn more about Hope Scarves.

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