Charles (Chuck) Edward Hibbard was born in Kansas City, MO, May 9, 1927. He lived most of his life in California and Washington. He met and married Virginia (Ginny) King in San Jose, CA, on December 31, 1955.
Chuck developed several kinds of cancer the last few years of his life. His prostate cancer went into remission. But, then a couple of years later, he developed Stage 4 lung cancer in 2002. No treatment was able to save his life. He died at his home in Redding, CA, March 7, 2002, with his wife Ginny, son Rob, and sister Ailene at his bedside.
While Chuck was taking chemotherapy, Ginny became friends with Joyce Hamilton, who was also taking chemo for lung cancer. While Chuck was in the hospital, Ginny knitted hats to keep herself occupied during the hours she spent next to his bed. She gave them to Chuck and Joyce and anyone else who wanted one. Joyce loved the hats for the warmth they provided. Losing one's hair from chemo can be not only mentally traumatic, but also become cold from lost of body heat from the head.
One evening, Joyce called after she had been at radiation that day. A woman at radiation office wanted to know where Joyce had purchased her hat. Joyce said that her friend made it for her. I asked Joyce what the woman's name was so I could give her a hat. Unfortunately, Joyce didn't know.
Joyce died two weeks after Chuck. One night Ginny looked at a hat partly finished laying beside her. She thought about the woman who wanted a hat, but wasn't able to receive one of her scrap yarn hats. Ginny knew she couldn't find that woman, but began making more hats for other patients, who needed a warm hat for their bare and cold head.
Then on May 29, 2003, as Ginny was working on a hat, she heard Chuck's voice say, "Ginny, why are you doing this by yourself?" The voice was so strong, she looked around to see where Chuck was, but alas, he wasn't there. The next day, she sent an email to about 20 people asking if they would get involved for their community's chemo cancer patients using the name, "Chuck's Hats for Chemo.
A few months later, Ginny wrote to a number of magazines inquiring if they would be interested in mentioning the Chuck's Hats For Chemo project. All except one ignored her inquiries.
Susan Ungaro, who at the time was the Family Circle Magazine's editor, sent an email that they would publish a paragraph about Chuck's Hats For Chemo in their January 20, 2004 issue. And, then, the flood of emails arrive, sometimes 100 a day for patterns and information. The amount of emails have surpassed 4,500. Many of the email inquiries passed on the information to family, friends, co-workers.
And so a decentralized charity began. Have hook, have needles, have scrap yarn leads to one hat given free to a cancer patient in a community.
Chuck & Ginny with their rescue dog, Puppy. Arlington, WA circa mid 1990s.