LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The founder of the non-profit organization Hope Scarves has provided thousands of women cancer patients with a scarf and hope, and has now learned her own cancer is progressing.
Lara MacGregor, 41, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 when she was pregnant with her second child.
During that time, a friend gave her a scarf and shared her own cancer story. After MacGregor finished treatment, she passed that scarf on to another friend facing cancer, and the idea of Hope Scarves was born.
“Our collection is as varied in the colors as it is in the stories that go with each scarf,” MacGregor said. “We have stories from women facing over 90 different types of cancer. Ten thousand scarves have been sent to every state and 23 countries.”
The oldest recipient is 97 years old and the youngest is four years old.
In 2014, MacGregor learned she had metastatic cancer and it had spread from her breast to her bones. For the last five years, she’s been able to keep it stable while continuing to grow Hope Scarves, which has moved from a spare bedroom in her house to its own office in St. Matthews.
“We really believe that hope exists in the very darkest of times and that you’re a survivor from the day you’re diagnosed,” MacGregor said. “And then every day you’re surviving. You are a survivor. You’re living life over cancer, finding hope in the darkness.”
Days ago, MacGregor got news that she had been bracing for. A scan revealed her cancer has progressed. She said her treatment options likely will include radiation and oral chemotherapy.
"The reality of this disease is it’s going to progress,” MacGregor said. “And as I continue down my treatment options, they’re going to become more toxic and have harder side effects. So I’m definitely living my life as fully as possible while I feel well, and I have that same hope professionally for this organization, to have it grow and reach as many people as possible.”
The news also comes at a time when MacGregor is preparing for her biggest fundraiser of the year. Colors of Courage is scheduled for Friday night at the Mellwood Arts Center. In addition to raising money for Hope Scarves, they also donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to research for metastatic cancer.
“Hope exists the most brilliantly in the darkest times,” MacGregor said. “So that will be what we focus on Friday night. And this really deepfelt belief that we don’t have to live in this idea that hope exists in the future or beating cancer, but that it exists in living each day to the fullest.”
She is doing that with her two children right now. She said as a family, they work hard to focus on each day and to make choices around “what brings us joy and love.”
Tickets for Colors of Courage are $100 and can be purchased at .