Students make hats for cancer patients

CHAMPION – Students in the new textiles and jewelry class at Champion High School dedicated their time to making crocheted hats and tie-dyed bandannas for Project Ed Bear, which serves children in hospitals battling cancer.

The project was in honor of Nick Reed, who died at age 20 of cancer this year. He was the son of Champion Schools staff member Todd Reed.

Picking up the hats and bandannas was Susan Summerville, co-founder of Project Ed Bear, who told how the effort will make a difference in the lives of many children battling cancer.

Art teacher Laura Acierno said the semester class started in January at the time that Todd Reed’s son Nick died, and the family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the nonprofit organization Project Ed Bear.

Project Ed Bear’s goal is to offer comfort to children in the hospital with cancer, often with teddy bears. Ninety-eight percent of the work is done through Akron Children’s Hospital. The organization was founded in 1994.

“Originally, the 12 students in the class were each going to crochet one hat. I told them about Project Ed Bear and they wanted to make more hats for the kids. Everyone loved the project,” Acierno said.

Acierno said the hats and bandannas are given to the children because they often lose their hair to chemotherapy.

Krista Davis, a senior, said she has had family members who have had cancer and spoke about what a struggle it was for them.

“It was an awesome project that will really help them,” she said.

Tessa Butcher, a sophomore, said she liked the idea of giving of her time while knowing she was helping to make a difference for the children.

“So many of the students donated all the hats they made, including the ones for themselves. Some students made hats at home,” Acierno said.

In addition, the students also made inspirational cards with quotes.

Summerville came to the school this week and told how the hats and bandanas are placed in a box at the nurse’s station at the hospital, where children can pick out a hat.

Todd Reed said he was very impressed with the effort by the students and Acierno to help others.

“They really took it upon themselves to help these kids who are very sick. I saw a lot of little kids who were very very sick in the hospital. Some of them did not have their parents around and were by themselves,” Reed said.

Reed said his son got cancer twice as a teenager and spent a lot of time at Akron Children’s Hospital.

“As a father who had a child with cancer, it means a lot to have these kinds of things given to them. It may not have seemed like a lot to some people, but it really means a lot to these little kids that are suffering to have these gifts given to them,” Reed said.

“His son was inspiring and wanted to give to help others,” Acierno said. “I would like to continue this and expand on it with the friendship bracelets. This project was a highlight of the year to see the students give back like this.”

For information on how to get involved, call 330-714-8839 or email