In 2005 my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
Living 9 hours away and not having any money, I couldn’t do anything for him. He also downplayed the whole thing, making it seem like it wasn’t that bad.
I had also been using painkillers recreationally for a few years prior to that. I suffered a back injury in 2005 and my drug use spiraled out of control.
Suddenly my dad’s cancer took a turn for the worse. I received a phone call from my brother to come see my dad PRONTO.
So we went to see him. It was worse than I had thought. The cancer had taken over his entire body and mind. It had spread throughout his lymph nodes and brain. I said goodbye to my father that weekend. On my way home I decided I was going to live a life of happiness. So i divorced my wife and left her and my 2 kids.
This was the best decision I had ever made. However, I was not so happy.
I had been battling demons and didn’t now what to do.
I met my wife (now) and it turned everything around. I was still using drugs and getting worse. I had told her about my drugs, but she didn’t know how bad it was.
In 2008 I proposed to her and we were to get married on 4/4/09. On 4/2/09 I was laid off from my job of 3 years. 2 days before our wedding. This sent my spiraling downward.
1 week after our wedding I was feeling hopeless and lost.
I made the worst choice of my life. I had no money to buy drugs and I couldn’t go to anymore doctors since they had all stop prescribing me painkillers. So I chose to rob a pharmacy for pills.
I got 1500 pills and ate them all within 1 week.
I was out and chose to do it again. Only this time it didn’t work. I was driving down the interstate and that’s when I saw 8 police cars behind me.
Once I pulled over I looked in my mirror and saw the 8 rifles pointing at my head.
That was the moment I chose to never use drugs again.
I was sentenced to 20 years. I got 5 years in prison (with an earned release program option) and 15 years of extended supervision.
While incarcerated I taught myself how to crochet to pass the time.
I had made 1000 hats for children in need. After I completed the Earned Release Program I was able to go home 2 years early in 2012. Once home I continued to crochet and make stuff for different charities. I also had confronted my inner demons and was finally at peace with myself and those who had hurt me in the past. I learned how to forgive. I decided it was time to live that happy life and be positive.
In 2018 a friend of mine asked me to make a hat for her cousin who was going through chemo and needed a soft hat.
I proceeded to make her a blanket and pillow. The feeling I got from that gesture was indescribable. I decided to finally do something good in my life. I started to post on Facebook if anyone was going through chemo and needed a soft hat to contact me. That got a lot of attention and soon a local news station wanted to interview me.
That story was picked up by other stations around the country.
3 weeks later CNN contacted me to interview me and they put that on their website.
Now I had people from all over the world asking for hats.
It was a getting out of hand and I couldn’t afford to do this by myself. So I setup a gofundme account and I’ve been running this off of donations ever since.
I have since started to put together care packages to go with the hats. I call these Battle kits. They consist of lip balm, lotion, 5 pcs of ginger candy, 5 pcs of sugar free hard candy, hand sanatizer, and an inspirational card handmade by several people/children.
With the help of total strangers, this project has taken on a life of its own.
While I’m doing this I’m working a full time job and looking after my 4 year old son along with my wife.
I continue to flourish in life, growing in my professional career, growing the battle cap project into something bigger that what it is now.
I’m finally living that happy life I had only dreamed of.
Through diversity, Kurtis has put together the battle cap project. Providing people who are going through chemotherapy with some comfort when needed. He continues to flourish in life, growing in his professional career andis trying to grow the battle cap project into something bigger that what it is now.