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June 1, 2002

Girl Power

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Tara, 18, founded Hats Off for Cancer at age 14.

Mission: To donate hats to young cancer patients who have lost their hair.

Tara Ann Lawrence was working as a volunteer with children at the American Cancer Society in Hunterdon County, NJ, when one of them confided in her that the toughest thing about living with her illness was losing her hair. "I thought about it a lot. I couldn't imagine how hard that would be for someone my age, dealing with the stares," Tara says. At age 14, she started writing letters to mayors and heads of companies based in her home state, asking them to donate baseball caps to children undergoing radiation.

Today, Hats Off for Cancer has chapters in 50 states and three foreign countries, and the organization has received autographed hats from the likes of Barbara Walters, Rosie O'Donnell, 'N Sync and the cast of The Today Show. Tara has other projects in the works as well: She plans to edit a book of stories and poems by kids with cancer, and she hopes, eventually, to use funds from her organization to start a summer camp for kids with cancer.

"Working with cancer victims is very important to me since my grandfather died of cancer when I was 10. It makes me feel like I'm doing something for him, too."

Read more about Tara and Hats Off for Cancer here.

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