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West Allis - Going to work every day at the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center would seem to be distressing, but it's one place valor can be witnessed almost everywhere, said West Allis resident Kelsey Lexow.

She is a member of the breast cancer clinical trials team and leader of a team of warm-hearted colleagues who are doing something special for those engaging in the battles of their lives.

Last spring, the staffers began Operation Chemo Comfort, an initiative to make and deliver headwear and care packages to cancer patients.

“I want to give to cancer patients, not because they’re victims to be pitied. Our patients are amazing, resilient warriors. I knit for them as a gesture of respect and encouragement,” Lexow said.

In fact, it was one of those very warriors who inspired the initiative. As she watched a pancreatic cancer patient donate care packages to fellow patients, she knew she had to help, too. Knowing that handmade caps and sewn scarves would boost morale, she enlisted the help of fellow Clinical Trials Office colleagues.

During its first drive, the group delivered 250 hats, 150 handmade cards, 30 care packages and gift certificates worth a total of more than $2,000 to patients. They have partnered with Cream City Yarn, Relay For Life of Wauwatosa, Burlington High School, Leading Men Fiber Arts and numerous Milwaukee vendors and service providers.

The group just announced its second drive benefiting Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin cancer patients.

Her group will collect hats and head scarves Dec. 2. For more information, contact Lexow at klexow120940@gmail.com.

While they won't collect hats and sewn scarves until December, Lexow already has knit 85 caps. She is a clinical research assistant on 16 breast cancer clinical trials and is responsible for patient follow-up and removing identifiers on patient data, such as mammogram images.

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