Lara was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 at the age of 30 and 7 months pregnant with her second son. A woman Lara had never met, but with whom she shared a mutual friend sent her a package. Inside were beautiful scarves she wore during cancer treatment and a note saying, “You can do this.” The scarves were both practical and inspiring, and knowing someone else had worn the scarves and faced cancer helped Lara believe she could do it, too. Not long after she finished treatment, Lara went to a Young Survival Coalition Conference. She packed several scarves in hopes that she could pass them along to another woman, as had so graciously been done for her. There, Lara met Roberta and they laughed together as she showed her different ways to wear a scarf. Upon the completion of her treatment, Roberta sent the scarves back to Lara. Lara had since moved, and one of the first friends she met, Brooke, was starting treatment. She brought a scarf to Brooke’s house and they laughed through their tears about what it is like to lose your hair. This whole time Lara couldn’t stop thinking about the amazing journey these scarves were on.
So, Lara created Hope Scarves in 2012 as a way to capture these beautiful stories and encourage others. The program started in her spare bedroom with her toddler volunteer by her side, sending out 2-3 Hope Scarves a week. Today Hope Scarves is a bustling office of volunteers and staff, sending over 100 scarves a week all around the world. Hope Scarves has sent over 20,000 scarves to every state and 30 countries, to people facing over 90 different types of cancer. The oldest recipient is 97 and the youngest, 10 months. The Hope Scarf Collection, which changes constantly, contains over 25,000 scarves and over 1,700 stories.
After almost 7 years in remission, Lara faced cancer again. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer in January 2014. Scarves and stories were encouraging, but they weren’t going to extend or one day save lives. So, in 2016, Hope Scarves established a Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Fund. To date, $925,000 has been given to support MBC Research, all matched 1:1 by anonymous donors for a $1.85 million dollar impact.
Lara started Hope Scarves to spread hope, which she held onto for 15 years. Lara passed away on January 18, 2022 at the age of 45.
Because of Lara we will aways hope,
Hope Scarves Founder, Lara MacGregor launched My Hopeful Life as an extension of Hope Scarves in 2020. This initiative, rooted in her personal story, started with her widely followed blog, My Hopeful Life. And now includes a film, podcast and one day a book. Living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer gave Lara a unique perspective on facing uncertainty, grounding oneself in gratitude and embracing each day. Her vision & dedication to Hope Scarves was a powerful force for good in the world.