Cancer survivor honored for Paying it Forward to patients

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Cathy Mikkelson decided to Pay It Forward to Lois Fowler because she made hats for cancer patients. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Cathy Mikkelson decided to Pay It Forward to Lois Fowler because she made hats for cancer patients. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Mesa grandmother spends a lot of time on her sewing machine making hats for cancer patients. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Mesa grandmother spends a lot of time on her sewing machine making hats for cancer patients. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Lois Fowler is a cancer survivor, but she's not sitting around feeling sorry for herself.

Instead, the Mesa grandmother spends a lot of time on her sewing machine making hats for cancer patients.

"It was just something in my heart I needed to do, and give back, to make things a lot easier for women," said Fowler. "I think they provide comfort, joy and peace."

Fowler knows first-hand the physical and emotional toll battling cancer can have, so a few years ago she started "Hats for Hope," as a way to brighten the lives of cancer patients who feel self-conscious about losing their hair.

Since 2014, Fowler and her friends have made more than 2,500 sassy and decorative hats that they donate to hospitals across the Valley.

"I don't want it to be about me. I want it to be about them, to make them happy and make them feel special," said Fowler.

Cathy Mikkelson with the American Cancer Society has seen first hand what an impact these hats have had on patients.

So she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Lois when she showed up at the Mayo Hospital in north Phoenix.

"The three of us want to thank you so much for everything you do, for patients here and gifts that you share and what you bring to our community," Mikkelson said. "So I reached out to Channel 5 and their Pay it Forward program. And on behalf of that, we have a donation for you to help continue to do what you do for others, $500. Thank you so much."

"I can give them a hat that I made but when somebody that's been through that journey and seen the other side she can truly say I know what that feels like," Mikkelson said. "We wanted her to know, we as a community appreciate what she does."

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