Donation by Design

Unique Project Affirms Cancer Patients’ Hope

Nearly 1,000 patients at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center are wearing one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry, thanks to an unusual and generous donation from the Regalia for Hope Project. 

“I’ve watched several family members battle cancer,” said Elizabeth Ruth Wilson, an Evanston graduate student and founder of Regalia for Hope. “Patients need faith to get through it. This project is a way of letting them know that someone is thinking of them, praying for them and supporting them on their journey.” 

Wilson, a doctoral business student, has been making earrings as a hobby ever since she was 15 years old. One day, while she and her mother were visiting the hospital where her brother was being treated for bone cancer, a young girl noticed her mother’s earrings and asked Wilson if she could make a pair for her. 

“She wanted red ones with her name on them,” recalled Wilson. “When I returned to give them to her, the joy on her face was an awesome experience!” So, in 2011, Wilson decided to make her earrings on a wider scale. She started the Regalia for Hope Project with a grant from the University of South Carolina, where she was an undergraduate student. Its mission is to provide handmade earrings for female cancer patients to reflect beauty, inspire resilience and champion hope. 

“Since then, with the help of a team of volunteers, I’ve made and distributed more than 3,500 pairs of earrings to adults and children receiving treatment for cancer at hospitals and oncology centers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Illinois,” said Wilson.

The Regalia for Hope Project has donated 1,000 pairs of earrings since March 2013 to Kellogg Cancer Center, where nurses deliver them to patients. The small gift package includes the pair of earrings and a handwritten message from a project volunteer designed to inspire and encourage patients on their journey. 

“We’re very grateful to Regalia for Hope,” said Tyler Bauer, NorthShore Medical Group Assistant Vice President, who noted that new patients receive their earrings when they start chemotherapy. “The gifts are a big hit,” added Bauer, “and our patients are so appreciative.”


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