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Marshfield Clinic partners with Hope Scarves for women in cancer treatment

Hope Scarves - Marshfield Clinic

​​​​​May 31, 2017

Marshfield Clinic is the first health system in the state to partner with Hope Scarves, a program that donates scarves which carry the stories of women who have faced cancer.

The international nonprofit organization based in Louisville, Kentucky, has 15 partnership locations across the country. Since being founded in 2012 Hope Scarves has sent over 7,000 scarves to every state and 16 countries.

"We affectionately call this program 'sisterhood of the traveling scarves,'" said Karen Swartz, manager, Medical Oncology, Marshfield Clinic Minocqua Center. "Women who have had cancer donate these scarves and their stories to other women who are now facing cancer. When women wrap these soft scarves around their heads, the hope is that they feel encouragement and strength."

The program originated with Lara MacGregor who was 30 years old and seven months pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A friend sent MacGregor a box of scarves with a note saying "You can do this." This gesture became the inspiration for creating Hope Scarves.

The collection of scarves and stories share the common intention of encouraging another to live life over cancer. Each scarf donated is professionally cleaned and sent along with the story that accompanies it to someone currently in treatment. As time goes on, some scarves carry several stories of encouragement. When women are through with treatment, they can consider sending their scarf back and add their stories.

The partnership is being funded through Marshfield Clinic Health System's Northwoods Cancer Care Fund.

"This fund helps us provide many special services to our patients," said Rikki Starich, manager of annual giving. "It's one of the many ways our cancer care team is able to help cancer patients find comfort, support and encouragement."

The scarves are being given to women in treatment for all types of cancer.

"The gift of these scarves and survivor stories help spread the message of hope," said Shellie Donovan, a registered nurse and breast care coordinator, Marshfield Clinic Minocqua Center. "They represent a shared strength for our patients facing cancer."

For more information call Donovan at 715-358-1250 or visit the Hope Scarves website ​


Marshfield Clinic provides patient care, research and education with more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.

 Media Relations

John Gardner
Marshfield Clinic Health System Director of Communications
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Jeff Starck
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Dan Baulch
Senior Communications
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Jim Korth
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Joe Rizzo
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