My name is Hannah Ingham. Many of you know my brother, Jake, From Duke’s Radionthon, the Give Gala, or Angels Among Us. If you don’t, Jake’s journey started when he was about one year old. He was a healthy baby boy, curious as ever, when one day my mom noticed he was not using his right arm like he used to. He seemed to be handling all of his movement on the left side of his body, which is unusual for any child. She decided to call her good friend, and asked if she should be concerned.
They took him to the doctor soon after, and from then on, everything changed. They diagnosed him with a malignant brain tumor, one that cannot be removed. They went to countless hospital visits, doctors, and community groups to find their hope again.
That all happened before I was even born. Those are things that I remember indirectly - from stories, not memories. What I do remember is taking Jake to the hospital in the middle of the night, emailing teachers saying I couldn’t do work because I was there, being confused why we were in the first place, and being told as a 10-year old I had to walk around the hospital with my other brother, Ben, because we weren’t allowed in the room anymore. We’ve had some scary memories, like coming back to the hospital room at 2 am to find Jake asleep after having a hole drilled in his head (the nurse said there wasn’t enough time to get the doctor, so he drilled then and there), but also some good memories. The Give Galais one of my favorite events of all time. They do a great job hosting, organizing, and having fun with patient families, and one time we even won a beach trip!
Jess Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope, is one of the organizers of the event and always makes us feel welcome. She is a great friend to not only Jake, but me as well. I remember being offered headbands not as a patient, but as a sibling. Being a sibling to a patient is hard because you often get overlooked and are along for the ride. But with communities like Headbands of Hope, everyone is important. I mean, they donated 50,000 masks just this year to medical workers!
Speaking of which, I have been using their pink mask pack for weeks now, and I am IN LOVE. Of course, I may be a little biased, but they are by far the best and cutest masks I have in my collection. They’re definitely my go-to for work, meet-ups, and shopping (and they don’t fog up my glasses!)
It is so so important to have masks you enjoy wearing, because masks are very vital to our society right now. Some people, like my brother, are not fortunate enough to have strong immune systems like me and you. We need to keep them safe while looking stylish too! And of course, every purchase makes a donation to families like mine - we appreciate the support more than you would ever know!
Ps. Here are some of my other FAV headbands