How a cancer warrior’s handmade hats became a source of strength

 
 
 

Lori-Anne Biebuyck braced herself for the bad news. Having lost both her parents to cancer, her mammogram had doctors on high alert. Six biopsies later, they diagnosed Biebuyck with stage four breast cancer. The days that followed brought tears, chemotherapy, and hair loss. Biebuyck tried to hide it with wigs and scarves, but none of them felt right. Then her friend made her a hat. It’s colour and cheer emboldened Biebuyck and resulted in a surge of inspiration. “Cancer has brought a lot of pain into my life,” Biebuyck says. “I decided to turn the pain into something beautiful.”

Biebuyck started making hats in every hue, each with different fabric and flowers. Her accessories are an armour of positivity in trying moments. “People that go through chemotherapy sit there on their own,” Biebuyck says. During the long sessions, these simple creations can wrap someone in comfort. “It’s important to have a way to make you feel beautiful and express yourself,” Biebuyck says. “That shouldn’t stop just because you’re getting chemotherapy.” To motivate others, she sends her crafty headgear to people who share her struggle.

Ever since the end of last year, Biebuyck’s hats have touched heads and hearts across the nation. More importantly, they’ve transformed the way people with cancer see themselves. “They give them confidence,” Biebuyck says. “They give them hope.” On her Facebook page, BALD and Beautiful, the cancer warrior shares tutorials, personal experiences, and daily messages of strength. In return, she receives pictures of people wearing her creations with pride. “It means a lot to see the joy a hat can bring,” Biebuyck says. Although we can’t absolve someone’s pain, there’s always a way to make the journey a little easier.