K2 Headcover Program

Program Named K2 In Loving Memory of Kass, In Honor of Karen

“Local women helping local women in the fight against cancer.”

patient
From left: Stephanie Steinbacher, Susquehanna Health Foundation; Alicia Boyer, Arrow and Thread; Krista Bower, Paternostro Family Foundation; and Laurie King, patient navigator at the Cancer Center at UPMC Susquehanna; present the first K2 headcover to a patient during a recent visit to the Cancer Center.

December 2018 – The Paternostro Family Foundation and Arrow and Thread Handmade Designs announced today that they are teaming up to provide custom turbans and headcovers free of charge to women seeking treatment at the Cancer Center at UPMC Susquehanna. The program is called K2, and is its name has personal significance to principals from both organizations.

We named the program K2 in memory of our sweet sister, Kathleen, and in honor of Alicia’s Mom, Karen. Kathleen and Karen represent the strong and courageous women who will be the recipients of these headcovers,” remarked Krista Paternostro Bower, chairman of the Foundation. She continued, “We also identify with K2 as the world’s second tallest mountain, exuding strength and prominence. Those who climb K2 show great perseverance and resiliency. Yet, no matter the outcome of their climb, much like a cancer diagnosis, it is the spirit of moving forward and never giving up that defines our lives.”

Alicia Boyer, owner of Arrow and Thread, remarked, “My Mom, Karen, is an exceptionally strong woman with a history of making the best of everything she is given. It is this positivity, in spite of the struggles, that has inspired us to create K2.”

For both women, the importance of this program has been that it has been developed locally and will make its impact locally. Alicia commented, “This is such a special opportunity and we are so excited and committed to providing a unique program for the women in our community.” Krista added, “This is a homegrown effort, developed over several months from an identified community need. It is special and meaningful for us to partner with Alicia on this initiative, women helping women in the fight against cancer.”

Sherry Watts, vice president of the Susquehanna Health Foundation offered, “Partners like the Paternostro Family Foundation and Arrow and Thread, who realize the importance of keeping donations local, are critical to supporting our friends, families and neighbors on their healing journey. We are grateful that K2 has chosen our patients at UPMC Susquehanna to be the beneficiaries of these thoughtful items that help them feel beautiful.”

The Cancer Center at UPMC Susquehanna has been an active partner in shaping the program features. Each qualifying patient will receive two free headcovers, each hand-tailored by Alicia. The Paternostro Family Foundation will underwrite the cost of the headcovers, which are being offered by Arrow and Thread at a discounted price. “Survivors battling cancer face many challenges when managing the side-effects of treatment,” said Michelle Gaida, administrative director of Cancer Services at UPMC Susquehanna“Hair loss during cancer treatment can be a stressful, heart-wrenching experience. Many people do not realize how much their image is tied to their hair until they start to lose it. Headcovers, such as those provided by Arrow and Thread and the Paternostro Family Foundation, are a stylish way to empower and energize survivors and provide them with a way to manage the emotions of hair loss.” 

The Foundation is actively seeking donations to support this program. Bower remarked, “Anyone interested in donating specifically to support the K2 program can donate on our website: https://paternostrofamilyfoundation.org/make-a-donation. The Pay Pal link for online donations will allow donors to designate funds specifically to support the K2 Headcover program.”

Alicia and Krista, who only met recently as a result of this initiative, have discovered a deep connection between them and share a similar outlook on how being a caregiver to a loved one changes perspectives about what truly matters.

Alicia remarked, “As I am taught important life lessons everyday by my mother who is fighting a terminal illness, I have realized that life isn’t about what you have or don’t have, it’s about what you give.  Having the ability to create something with my own two hands that may help someone feel more beautiful, that is my purpose.”

“For so many women, losing their hair as a result of their treatment is an uncertain part of the journey. When Kass was diagnosed, her beautiful and naturally-curly hair cascaded past her shoulders. As she fought cancer, her hair eventually all went away, but what I saw emerge was a strength, determination, and meaningful purpose I will never forget. She will always be my example of courage and grace,” Krista observed. “Today is a special day for our Foundation. I think Kass would be proud to know that we are carrying her legacy forward to help other women in her memory. We miss her, and our Dad, every moment of every day.”

To learn more about Arrow and Thread Handmade Designs, please visit their website at www.etsy.com/arrowthreaddesigns.

Beautiful Kathleen

In Loving Memory of Kass, Christmas 2009

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