Ruth Crane was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2008. Although she had no family history of breast cancer, she found a lump in her left breast in December of 2007 and followed up with her doctors. After several tests and a biopsy, cancer was confirmed. This was not the journey she had planned on taking…3 kids, a loving husband, a great network of family and friends…all wonderful blessings that seemed to fill and fulfill her life. From the start of her treatment, Ruth decided to do whatever she could to stay positive. She enlisted the help of family and friends to support her journey, send her funny stories, keep the prayers and positive thoughts going through her caringbridge website. Ruth began chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic in March 2008 and lost her hair within a few days of her second chemotherapy treatment. Choosing what to wear on her head became a daily decision and struggle. Would today be a bandanna day? Would the wig feel scratchy? Could she really go out in public with a bald head? It was at that point that Ruth realized that she wanted to feel and look as normal as possible. She didn’t want to go through each day and every interaction as the “cancer patient.” She wanted to be just Ruth.
Looking normal for Ruth meant wearing her wig and accessorizing with earrings, necklaces, and makeup. Ruth felt more like her “normal” self with these accessories and actually felt more attractive. Every woman and girl undergoing cancer treatment will have a different feeling about what they are comfortable wearing on their head, but each patient in treatment Ruth has talked to about earrings has said they really helped her feel “good,” “supported,” and “beautiful.”
Ears To You was developed out of the sense to help other women and girls undergoing chemotherapy enjoy that same good feeling about themselves as they too dealt with their loss of hair, or the stress of cancer treatments. Ruth feels like the idea was divinely inspired since she really wanted to do something to help other cancer patients in a way that was easy and affordable. Ears To You was born in June of 2008 and has been providing earrings to female cancer patients ever since…and has branched out to help men and boys with cancer feel great too! Today Ruth is feeling great, is 6 1/2 years out from her treatment and is not only surviving- she’s thriving! She is looking forward to helping even more cancer patients through Ears To You. You can help Ruth make this dream happen! Check out the support page.
The idea for Ears To You came while Ruth was in the hospital for a possible infection in April 2008. With lots of time on her hands, she spent time thinking about what she could do to help other women going through treatment. It’s often said that when you are facing a struggle in your life, take some time to help others to ease your burdens. This is what Ruth did!
As she sat there in her hospital gown in her bandanna without any earrings or makeup on, she realized how important those little everyday adornments were that made her feel more attractive and “normal.” With God’s inspiration, Ruth decided that providing earrings to women undergoing cancer treatments would be something she could not only do, but could get started right away!
Once Ruth had the idea for Ears To You and got the great name from her brother who works in advertising. she knew who to turn to for help. Her friend Debbie Smith, owner of a home based business called Rings & Other Things, knew how to get earrings at a great price to get the program started. Since Debbie is a vendor, she can secure earrings that are cute, fashionable, nickel and lead-free at a great price and then sells them to Ears To You for just $5 a pair. Ruth started the program at the Cleveland Clinic. In fact, the first day the earrings were passed out was the last chemo treatment for Ruth. What a sweet day that was! Many patients couldn’t decide between earrings so they were told to take both pairs!
From there, Ears To You has been expanded to hospitals around the country and has continued to bring smiles to women and girls with cancer! Most recently Ears To You has begun a hat donation program to lift the spirts of men and boys with cancer! The earrings and hats are distributed by nurses, social workers, Child Life Specialists or volunteers and each hospital has developed a system that works for their purposes. Sometimes a patient will receive a new pair of earrings or hat at each chemotherapy treatment; other times a patient may receive a earrings or hats on a day when she’s especially struggling, during a Look Good Feel Better program, or at her last treatment as a celebration.
Each pair of earrings is put on an earring card that says “Ears To You” so each pair looks great. The earrings that are distributed are either bought through donations or donated by amateur jewelry makers from around the country! All the earrings are NEW, lead/nickel-free and range in size, style and appearance. That skull caps are being knitted by generous knitters and the baseball hats are purchased through generous donations! The program work so well with women and girls of varying ages, styles and preferences going through treatment, it is imperative to have earrings that will be attractive to every woman. And our hats are “cool” enough to meet the style preferences of men and boys! We are about helping cancer patients during their cancer journey- research is definitely important to fighting and beating cancer- but we focus on creating joy and hope in TODAY’S moments for the patients we serve who are fighting cancer. An oncologist once said that “feeling good on the outside helps you to heal on the inside.” This is exactly why Ears To You exists- to encourage women, men and children who may feel down, defeated, unattractive or despairing to move towards feeling hopeful, beautiful, joyful and positive. What seems so simple really can provide that little lift or “spirit boost” to change a patient’s outlook for the better!
Since that first distribution day in June 2008, Ears To You has provided over 10,000 pairs of earrings to women and girls undergoing cancer treatments and we look forward to moving forward with our hat donations too! It is our hope that Ears To You can continued to be expanded to hospitals around the country and the world! Get on board with Ears To You today! BLING IT ON!