Cancer Survivor Gives Boston Medical Center a $20,000 Hat Tip

She wore 100 hats over 100 days, all while accepting donations for BMC.

Caroline Moore-Kochlacs in some of her hats/Photos provided

Caroline Moore-Kochlacs in some of her hats/Photos provided

After Caroline Moore-Kochlacs was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in January 2015 and treated at Boston Medical Center (BMC), she wanted to find a way to give back.

Moore-Kochlacs, a Cambridge resident, planned to raise $20,000 by wearing 100 different hats over the course of 100 days, something that wasn’t too physical—”I couldn’t run a marathon or something like that,” she says—and could be promoted online, via social media and her blog Hat On It. Donations are accepted through the blog.

The hats came about, Moore-Kochlacs says, because “I knew that eventually I would probably have chemo and lose my hair, so I had for a long time thought, ‘Well I’m going to have to get some pretty cool hats for that period of time.'”

Starting in May with a floral Mother’s Day bouquet cap, Moore-Kochlacs wore and wrote about all 100 hats, from a sorcerer’s hat during a chemo day, to a sailor hat at work, to Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat while defending her dissertation. Some hats she bought or owned, but many were borrowed from or made by friends.

“It was cool to learn how many of my friends are secret hat lovers,” Moore-Kochlacs says. “I posted this on Facebook and some people I hadn’t really been in touch with for 15 years sent hats too, so that was pretty cool.”

When Moore-Kochlacs hit her goal of $20,000, she decided to raise an additional $5,000, a benchmark she’s only shy of by about $700. Within the next month or so, she hopes to let people vote on their favorite hat, then try to get a local star or celebrity to wear it.

And while she’s trying to raise as much as possible for BMC, Moore-Kochlacs says educating people about cancer has been one of the most rewarding parts of the fundraiser.

“A lot of people didn’t know what was involved in a trial, or how much money just day-to-day life costs that are just non-medical bills,” Moore-Kochlacs says. “I thought I was going to annoy people by talking about myself every day but people really responded to it.”

Her fundraising is much appreciated as well, says Bob David, manager of BMC’s Cancer Support Services.

“It’s always heartwarming when a cancer patient or survivor feels grateful for her medical care and in turn wants to give back,” David says. “What Caroline has done takes this to a level that is remarkable.”

Donate to Hat On It here.