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Happy Hats for Kids in Hospitals was founded in 1991 by Sheri Waldstein. This is her story...


I founded Happy Hats for Kids in Hospitals, a non-profit organization, in 1991.


At the age of 35 my younger brother passed away from cancer and soon after, my father, grandmother and mother succumbed to the same devastating disease. The heartbreak was almost too much to bear. I helplessly noticed the physical pain and emotional trauma of hair loss following chemotherapy. My final blow was when I lost my only son to a gun accident. 

I could have wallowed in my grief. Instead, I used it as a springboard to action! 


As a hat designer by profession, I decorated and personally presented whimsical hats to hospitalized children fighting cancer and other critical illnesses. It was overwhelming how much fun the kids had smiling and laughing as they saw themselves in a handheld mirror.  These creative hats changed the usually somber atmosphere of a critically ill Pediatric Ward into a brighter place. This was truly a heartwarming experience.


To accompany the Happy Hats and help lessen the children’s fears, my deceased husband and I wrote an educational, bilingual, story/activity book explaining basic hospital procedures in a gentle and humorous manner.  To date, we have uplifted the spirits of more than 1.3 million kids in hospitals and their families.

As the founder, I consider myself a “professional volunteer” as I have been fortunate to have never received compensation.

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Sheri Waldstein

Executive Director | Founder

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