Luzerne County - Each year, millions of people are diagnosed with cancer and the steps to get better, are to say the least, tough. But one couple, with local ties, is using their personal experience in the fight against cancer to help out someone else.
"It's when you're actually sitting in it and going through it you look at the little details," said Greg Hamilton. He was doing just that, sitting in a hospital getting chemotherapy, when he and his wife Ellen came up the with idea for Chemo Cozy.
Greg was diagnosed with a very rare type of bone cancer in 2010. He had just finished ten months of chemotherapy and was looking at more rounds when he and Ellen, who is originally from Mountain Top, decided to go shopping to find something comfortable for Greg to during treatment.
"He was frozen. He had this blanket that kept get caught on the IV pole," said Ellen.
Turns out, they couldn't find anything that would accommodate Greg's chemotherapy port and pic lines, so they grabbed some fleece jackets and got a family member to start sewing. The final product is a hit, with all of the access points a person receiving chemo needs.
"We wore it into treatment and the staff was like, 'This is great. Where did you get this? It looks fantastic,'" said Greg.
When it came to the design, perfection was key, even on the tiniest of details. "We realized we couldn't have metal zippers, which we wouldn't have thought of because they were cold. Everything had to be perfect if we were going to give this to someone who was already going through a difficult time," said Ellen.
That's why they included a logo reading "Think Happy" on the front breast of the jacket, to brighten spirits.
"The more you feel like a normal person, the better it is while you're in the hospital," said Greg. The Hamilton's, who live in suburban Philadelphia, launched an online campaign last November, and in a few short months they've grown, producing thousands of jackets. Now they're developing a kid's line. A portion of jacket proceeds even go the charity.
"We were talking to my oncologist and he said to me, 'I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't think of this myself, because I treat these patients all the time.' I said fortunately you never have to sit in this chair," said Greg. But for those that do it's life-changing, and the Hamilton's want to do whatever they can to help make that trying time just a little easier.
"We're not medical people, so we can't help in that way. This is just one thing we thought we could do to try and help in own little way," said Ellen.
"It's humbling and it makes you realize why you're doing this. because you'll get notes saying thanks so much you're keeping myself. my mother of grandmother warm during treatment. they send photos, its really great reminds us everyday why were doing this," said Greg.
Greg Hamilton is also a nominee for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year Award.
This is a reminder to call your buddy, to remind him or her to do a breast self exam - it's a call that can save a life.
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