Hats for Courage

For­mer Queen An­napolisa help­ing fel­low chemo pa­tients through ‘Hats for Courage’

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS X - BY KIRK STARRATT KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA MID­DLE­TON

For a for­mer Queen An­napolisa di­ag­nosed with ag­gres­sive breast cancer, the Hats for Courage cam­paign is all about em­pow­er­ing and com­fort­ing fel­low chemo­ther­apy pa­tients.

Tanya Marie Olscamp of Mid­dle­ton, Queen An­napolisa the 60th, said her life changed for­ever when she was re­cently di­ag­nosed in Novem­ber. Olscamp is re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy treat­ments at Val­ley Re­gional Hospi­tal in Kentville.

She said wear­ing an Over­comer hat is one way she takes her power back. She feels strong and de­ter­mined when she wears it and she wants to share this feel­ing with oth­ers fac­ing a sim­i­lar strug­gle.

The sin­gle par­ent of two launched the Hats for Courage cam­paign with the goal of rais­ing $2,000 to pur­chase hats to give to peo­ple re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy at Val­ley Re­gional. For­mer Queen An­napolisa Tanya Marie Olscamp wants to help em­power oth­ers as she con­tin­ues on her chemo­ther­apy jour­ney.

“From the very be­gin­ning of my jour­ney it was just re­ally im­por­tant that I wanted to stay pos­i­tive and try to feel em­pow­ered through the process,” Olscamp said. “When you’re deal­ing with cancer, it can be a very scary thing and a lot of peo­ple of­ten feel very pow­er­less in that sit­u­a­tion.”

She de­cided to have a lo­cal em­broi­dery shop make her a hat with the word “Over­comer” on it for when she be­gan chemo treat­ments. Af­ter see­ing this, a lot of her friends and fam­ily mem­bers also wanted Over­comer hats. She also had some that say “Team Tanya – Over­comer” pro­duced.

Olscamp said this was around the time she had to de­cide what to do with her long, thick hair. She had only had one hair­cut in the past two decades. Olscamp said she found this to be an emo­tional time and de­cided to throw a party.

She de­cided at the party that if wear­ing an Over­comer hat made her feel em­pow­ered, this was a feel­ing she wanted to give oth­ers.

“When my friends and fam­ily pur­chased Team Tanya hats, I thought well, I’ll use part of that money to buy Over­comer hats for pa­tients,” Olscamp said.

As she be­gan her chemother- apy process, she spoke with the pa­tient nav­i­ga­tor at Val­ley Re­gional and asked how many chemo pa­tients they see in a year. There are ap­prox­i­mately 200. Olscamp wants to get an Over­comer hat for each of them.

She said the hats are also about com­fort. Chemo­ther­apy af­fects body tem­per­a­ture and pa­tients of­ten feel cold.

“There are pa­tients who come for treat­ment that have very lit­tle and some don’t even have a hat,” Olscamp said. “I just felt re­ally called to try to do some­thing help­ful.”

Olscamp said ev­ery time some­one buys a hat for $20, they’re also buy­ing a hat for a chemo pa­tient or peo­ple can do­nate di­rectly. She has a www. Gofundme.com web­page that has raised $500 as of March 8 and peo­ple can or­der hats di­rectly through e-trans­fer or the mail. Over­all, she has raised just over $1,000 to date. Olscamp hopes to reach her fundrais­ing goal by the end of March.

Just over a year ago, as part of

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