Alexis Westbrook is a wonderful example of the "heart" of UNC Healthcare. For years her talents in sewing and crocheting have brought warmth to many of our patients. From tiny, crocheted blankets and caps for our preemies, cuddly, soft pillow hearts for women undergoing mastectomies, neck pillows for those dozing off during chemotherapy to her most famous creations for our "Hats and Hearts" program, Alexis puts a little bit of her own heart into each creation.
In the fall of 2002, Alexis approached the staff of The UNC Oncology Patient and Family Resource Center and asked if there might be a need for her handcrafted hats for our patients experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment. After a brief "clinical trial" of Alexis's designs and unanimous approval from our patients, the "Hats and Hearts" program was born. Alexis has made hundreds of hats for this program. In fact, her original hat pattern has lovingly been named "The Alexis."
We can't thank Alexis enough for the momentum she has added to this special oncology support program. In the fall of 2004, The Patient and Family Resource Center sponsored its first annual "Hats and Hearts" contest. Fifty handcrafted hats were submitted for judging. Alexis served as a consultant in the development of the hat design criteria and as a judge in the contest. Each year, the contest has continued to attract new seamstresses and knitters to our program.
The "Hats and Hearts" program at UNC brings a warm, personal touch to the cancer treatment plan. Alexis's special vision in 2002 has now blossomed into an active and well-loved community program. The UNC "Hats and Hearts" Program distributed over 1000 hats to our patients in 2007 free of charge. In addition to her work with “Hats and Hearts,” Alexis has become a trained volunteer cosmetologist for UNC’s Look Good…Feel Better program. Thank you, Alexis, for sharing your heart with all of us here at UNC.