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Published on July 22, 2016

Mario's Closet celebrates 5 years of helping cancer patients

Written by Kara Protasio, 6News Reporter

For the past five years, Mario's Closet inside of Lawrence Memorial Hospital has restored hope and confidence to cancer patients and survivors.

A boutique created by former KU basketball player Mario Chalmers and his mother Almarie.

“It feels good,” said Almarie. “It's a wonderful opportunity. It's exciting that we've been able to do this for five years.”

A one of a kind boutique that offers affordable solutions to target the physical effects of cancer treatment.

“I help the cancer patients find a wig that fits them,” said Shelly Hoggatt, volunteer at Mario’s Closet. “We have a variety. We have free ones. We have donated ones. We have ones people can buy. So we have all means to help people.”

Hoggatt has been a volunteer all five years. She has a history of cancer in her family.

“Both of my parents passed away of cancer,” said Hoggatt.

Which is why she volunteers to help other cancer patients restore their confidence.

“You put one on them and they just get the biggest smile,” said Hoggat. “I mean it really brightens up their face.”

An idea --inspired by one of Mario’s childhood friends--whose mother, Pauline Peterson, passed away from breast cancer.

“The reason we chose Kansas of course is because Mario played here, but that was the last team that she saw him play with,” said Almarie. “It was very touching to us.”

It was Mario’s dream is to do something in her honor.

“He said that one of the things that Pauline always wanted between treatments was to be able to go to somewhere that made her feel happy,” said Chalmers.

Now Mario’s Closet is making others who are battling cancer happy right here in Lawrence.

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