As the Shaker Varsity Football team closes out its regular season this Friday with the Colonie Cup, sophomore Jeremy Wernick is just getting started on his busy season. This is the sixth year for Hatsgiving, and the second year the charity organization started by Jeremy in 5th grade will be hosting a Kickoff Collection at a Shaker football game.
When he was a student at Forts Ferry Elementary, Jeremy shaved his head to support St. Baldrick’s, an organization that raises funds to fight childhood cancer. After the shave, Jeremy realized just how cold a bald head can get. Knowing that many children suffering from cancer lose their hair, and wanting to make them as comfortable as possible, he started collecting new winter hats for them.
That first year at Forts Ferry, he collected 256 hats, which were donated to Albany Medical Center. Last year, with donations across the North Colonie district, he collected over 2,800. Over the past six years, Hatsgiving has collected almost 8,600 hats for 15 different cancer treatment centers in 14 states.
Last year, Hatsgiving collected 74 hats at their Kickoff Collection. This year they’re aiming for even more. New winter hats can be donated in the collection bins at both entrances to Arthur E. Walker Field Friday night.
Jeremy says he’s been touched by the support and generosity of his classmates, teachers, and the community. The Shaker Football Team has been promoting the Kickoff Collection on social media, and help from the North Colonie school community has helped Hatsgiving grow beyond his wildest dreams.
Despite creating Hatsgiving and helping organize it every year, Jeremy says he doesn’t deserve the credit for the organization’s success. “Those kids should get the credit,” Jeremy said, referring to the children battling cancer. “They’re going through this. They’re staying strong.” He also credits the multitudes of people who help him out every year with helping to ensure the collection is successful.
“I always hope those kids have a smile on their faces when they get the hats,” Jeremy said, looking forward to another successful year.
New winter hats can be donated to Hatsgiving at both ticket entrances to Arthur E. Walker Field before the Colonie Cup, this Friday at 7:00 p.m.