By Tim Harfmann
Skye Workman is a young woman on a mission – collecting hats to help cancer patients feel good about themselves.
“I basically collect fun and new hats to donate to children and adults. When I donate the hats to them, they’re just happy afterwards,” said Skye, an eighth grader at St. Bernard Catholic Academy in Mill Basin.
From beanies to baseball caps and cartoon characters to sports teams, Workman has collected hundreds of hats through her nonprofit foundation, Skye’s the Limit, which she started at age nine.
Family, friends and schoolmates have supported Skye’s endeavor. At a hat drive in October, St. Bernard students and teachers donated 282 new hats and $1,460 toward her efforts.
Doing What Jesus Would Do
The act of helping others is a fundamental part of the learning experience at St. Bernard Catholic Academy.
“We try to follow what Jesus would do, give to the needy, help the poor, help the sick. So, we try to do these fundraisers as often as we can,” said Gail Gibbons, second-grade teacher, who organizes the drives at St. Bernard.
In December, Skye and her friends delivered the donations to the pediatric cancer unit at Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park. The funds were to be used for the children’s Christmas celebration.
In previous years, she has donated hats to The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Claudette Workman, Skye’s mother, said her daughter developed the idea for the foundation as a fifth grader when she learned about a St. Bernard graduate who lost the fight with cancer.
“She came home and was curious about cancer. I explained what the disease is and the effects of it. She said, ‘I want to do something to help,” Workman recalled.
Then Skye’s best friend experienced tragedy when her older sister was diagnosed and eventually died from cancer.
“Automatically, I was there for her. I understood what she was going through because a couple of years before that, my aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Skye.
Watching these brave women battle cancer, and seeing the impact it had on them, gave her better insight into how she could help bring more confidence and love to those dealing with this disease.
Set on Helping Others
And she plans to continue with her efforts even after she graduates in June. She has her sights set on helping others in the long term, not just through her foundation, but also as a lawyer one day.
“It doesn’t matter how young you are. You can still help others,” said Skye.
Editor’s Note: To donate to Skye’s the Limit, email WorkmanClaudette@yahoo.com.