Fat Thumb Originals artist, Michele Hirata, designs, makes and distributes Fat Thumb Chemo Beanies knitted from t-shirt material to patients going through chemotherapy or hair loss illnesses, free of charge.
Her fun and fashionable designs are not only extremely comfortable but very stylish as well. Everywhere people go with her unique hats, Fat Poly Handbags, and accessories a buzz surrounds them with curiosity, interest and amazement.
Every Fat Thumb Originals product is designed, hand-dyed, hand-cut and hand-knit by Michele in Ocean Springs, MS, using her unique T-Knit, Fun Tab cutting method. Your purchase of any Fat Thumb Original helps Michele continue to provide hats for those battling hair loss illnesses. Thank you for your support.
I lost my mother to breast cancer in August of 2003. She fought this horrible disease for 17 years with radiation and chemotherapy. Her biggest battle through the cancer was losing her hair and not feeling comfortable wearing wigs and other available head coverings. One of the very last things she said to me was, “I can’t believe my hair never came back. She had stopped chemo the spring before she died in hopes it would re-grow; it never did. After Mom died, I needed something to do to express myself. In September 2003, my mother-in-law taught me to crochet. I then taught myself to knit. Six months later, at 2 a.m. on a chilly winter night, I finished my first t-shirt chemo hat and knew I had something special. I designed the hat to be comfortable, fun and functional. I cut the t-shirt fabric a specific way to avoid excessive knots in the material. Knots are very uncomfortable for those going through chemo and can cause blistering. Due to the cutting design these fun little tabs emerged on the hat. After carefully calculating each specific item’s pattern I was able to distribute these tabs all over and not on one side or the other. Each Original Fat Thumb Chemo Beanie only has one knot, making it really comfortable to sleep in. Because it’s knitted, it stays put even on the most restless of sleepers.
I started donating hats to cancer victims, hospitals, various charities and the response was enormous and unanimous. These hats became very popular but it wasn’t until I met John that my life would change forever. In December 2004, I met John and his mother Susan. John worked with my husband and had developed a severe infection in the lining around his brain. Susan flew down and stayed by her son’s side. Many nights I sat beside her and offered hope and support but mostly we cried. John went through several surgeries to reduce the pressure on his brain but nothing worked, John was quickly dying. Family flew in to say goodbye and I made John a custom Fat Thumb Chemo Hat to hide the swelling and drain tubes. His mother was so thankful. That silly little hat made a huge impact. She was able to see her son look like his old self again before he died.
It really mattered.
I found my passion.
Fat Thumb was born April 2004. The name comes from my two really fat thumbs and being teased about them my whole life. Sometimes it’s hard being different but sometimes it’s fantastic. Sometimes it makes you beautiful and strong.
Fat Thumb gives hats to those going through hair loss illnesses. I donate about four dozen hats a month to individuals, hospitals, cancer centers and fundraisers. People call or email me, tell me their story and I mail them a hat. I sell hats, purses and other accessories at local art shows and on line to make up for the cost of the free hats. I absolutely love what I do and will do this for a very long time. Everyone should try and make a difference. Love one another. I live in Northern Virginia with my husband, two children, two dogs, two fish and a hamster.
In May of 2007, I played a key role in organizing a not-for-profit foundation called the Pink Heart Funds. The foundation provides free wigs and breast prosthesis to people uninsured suffering from hair loss illnesses. My best friend, JoAn Niceley founded the Pink Heart Funds. She's also set up the Pony Tail Club to accept hair donations for the free wigs. Please visit, www.pinkheartfunds.com or call (866) 757-PINK.
My company is dedicated to those battling cancer and to those who have lost their lives to cancer. Some of these people are:
My grandfather, Elton Robinson, died, colon cancer
My step-father, Tim O'Banion, died, brain cancer
My aunt, Cheryl Moore, died, ovarian cancer
My grandmother, Dorothy Mozelle Robinson, survivor, breast cancer
My uncle, Ray Robinson, survivor, skin cancer
My mom, Marsha Robinson O'Banion, died, breast cancer
My aunt, Kathy Smith, died, ovarian cancer
My friend, Stacy Baer, survivor, skin cancer and ovarian cancer
My friend, Jodie Kline, survivor, colon cancer
My friend, JoAn Niceley, survivor, breast cancer
My friend Robin Roberts, survivor, breast cancer
My friend Sharon Nakamura, survivor, breast cancer
Levi Krystosek, was born February 16, 2006 with skeletal dysplasia. He was born with birth defects and x-rays that looked like a child with "rickets." It took over a year to get a true diagnosis. Levi has Jansen's Metaphyseal Chondrodysplasia, a very rare form of dwarfism. He is the 17th person in the world known to have this type of dwarfism, making him a very special little Angel. In February of this year, Levi underwent reconstructive surgery at Children's Hospital UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s recovering well and is full of laughter and smiles. His next challenge is in Los Angeles, CA at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His parents are taking him to see a specialist for a skeletal dysplasia registry in hopes to find out more about the effects of Jansen's Metaphyseal Chondrodysplasia.
I met Levi and his wonderful family two years ago through a simple little hat I created and donated through my company, Fat Thumb Originals. I arranged a meeting with Dona, Levi’s mother, and we embraced, cried and smiled. Levi had brought us together and he looked so cute in the little love cap I had made just for him. Dona and I have remained close and I’ve always kept up-to-date with Levi’s progress.
Dona called me a couple of weeks ago, I asked her how she was doing and she informed me about her upcoming trip to Los Angeles. She NEVER asked for any financial help but I insisted I help raise a few funds, at least for airfare; everyone needs a little help once in a while. I saw an ad in the paper that Lynyrd Skynyrd was performing the very next night at the Hard Rock Casino Biloxi so Dona and I contacted them. I knew if the band signed a guitar for this special little boy, we could at least raise enough money for airfare. Together, we raised over $13,000.00 in six weeks.
Now all we have to do is find our needle in a haystack, a doctor who has treated a Jansen’s case and documented his findings. You can help simply by sharing Levi’s story with others. It’s simple and cost you only a little of your time. Together, we can all make a difference in the lives of others. Imagine hope everyday and love one another.
Smiles, Michele, the Fat Thumb Chick (228) 257-9179