Thomas James Bertges (TJ), who, on Sep 30th 2006 was Diagnosed at age 14 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Pro-B. He is now a 17 years old.
The news of this cancer was a shock to both TJ and the rest of his family, he became ill almost over night. During the first few weeks of this news, TJ and his family were full of worry and despare.
After many weeks of figuring out exactly what type of cancer TJ was struck with, and what was needed to be done to start on a road to recovery, TJ looked at the world from a different perspective. He knows he really did not have a choice but to fight the best he can against his unseen enemy, do what his parents and the doctors tell him to do, take medicine, go for frequent visits to the hospital and clinics for special treatments for such cancer.
One day TJ decided to accept his new challenge in a different way, and find something he would enjoy doing but also help others that edure the same new challenges as himself. TJ needed to get a few hats, to try to cover his head, which is currently without hair due to Chemo Therapy to help him in his fight against his cancer. With looking at different information sources and realizing he is definetly not on his own when it comes to having cancer as a child, he began to wonder to himself, "If I need a few hats to cover my head, EVERY child that goes through this does too!". This gave TJ a great idea of something he could do, not only to help others, but to also help him pass his years of recovery by giving himself something to keep his mind off of his misery. At that point, TJ then decided he would start collecting different hats from anywhere and everywhere. TJ even went as far as seeing how many hats it might take to break a world record. The number is quite high, but so is the amount of children in this country and others that are inflicted with such terrible diseases and various forms of Cancer as TJ now has.
One issue with TJ's great idea, is that his family really does not have the money to buy thousands upon thousands of hats, even if it is for a great cause. TJ will need help from all of us, not only for his family to help pay the medical bills, but also in his journey to collect all those hats, so that one day when he has beaten his Cancer, he can finish his journey by passing out all those hats to other children affected with Cancer, which is his dream to do once he has beaten the World Record AND beaten his Cancer.
Many people that have come to know TJ think that his idea is not only a great way for him to be able to do something to keep his mind off his pain, theropy, meds, and tiredness, it is also an excellent way to return his heart and kindness back to the world for helping him beat his Cancer. Even if you are not a monetary contributor on a regular basis to anything, like groups or functions or clubs, you could definetly help by simply donating an old hat you do not use that's just been sitting around the house for an eternity!
TJ needs donations of HATS to help beat the current record of about 84,500 hats held by a man in Minnesota who started collecting hats in 1970.
TJ is looking to claim that record for himself, with help from everyone who wants to help him.
After he claims that record, he wishes to give all the hats back to other children with Cancer. TJ wants to travel to the children and distribute the hats to them himself. If you or anyone that you know would like to help our TJ beat that record, we have set up a PO box for you to send the hats to, and he promises to wear them at least once. We will also get a picture of him wearing each hat and put them here on the web site. TJ will then store them away till the day he has enough hats to claim the record, then begin the final run of his journey by passing them out to kids all around that will then be fighting his same fight against Cancer. He is going to collect hats untill he breaks the record.
If you would like to donate a hat or hats to TJ's cause please send it to:
P.O. BOX 888781
Grand Rapids, MI 49588-8781
You can also visit TJ's website to check up on him and read updates, see pictures and things of that nature at www.tjsjourney.com
Thank you, From TJ and his Parents