GUEST POST: Jessica Ekstrom, Founder of Headbands of Hope

M Jess
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Almost everyone can think of a moment where they knew their life was about to change. For me, my moment was in the summer of 2011 when I began the internship at Make-a-Wish Foundation that changed my life forever.

Every day, I got to wake up and grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. I took day trips to visit the wish kids at their houses and bring them their favorite toys. We received hundreds of letters from wish children that said we changed their lives; little did they know, they were changing mine.

One day, I was pulling my hair back in a ponytail and thought about the hundreds of girls I encountered that had lost their hair to cancer. I saw how much losing their hair had an impact on their self-esteem and confidence level.

I thought about the thousands of girls around the world losing their hair to chemotherapy. Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem already and losing their hair as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic. For girls and women everywhere, their hair is a part of their feminine identity. Wigs can be uncomfortable and unappealing, especially to younger girls.I realized that headbands are the perfect way for these girls to keep their feminine identity and have a constant reminder that they’re not alone.

Therefore, I started Headbands of Hope. For every headband purchased, one headband will go to a girl with cancer and $1 will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research. Headbands can be purchased at

Since we launched in April, I’ve donated hundreds of headbands to girls experiencing chemotherapy and also help fund research for pediatric cancer through St. Baldrick’s.

But through all of this, I’ve learned a lesson that I want to share with girls everywhere: it’s never too early to follow your dreams. It’s amazing what one idea combined with passion can do. If you really believe in something, then believe in yourself that you have the power to achieve it!

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