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MBU Student Uses Personal Illness to Help Others

A freshman student at MBU helps encourage children diagnosed with cancer with the simple act of giving them a hat.



Matt’s Hats is an organization founded by one of MBU’s freshman students, Matt Williams, who was diagnosed with a stage-three ependymoma brain tumor when he was 9 years old.

He was able to go through surgery and survive this cancer, with the help and encouragement of loved ones around him.

One of the things people did to support Williams was donating hats to hide his baldness brought on as a result of radiation treatments.

By the time Williams was healthy, he had collected more than 300 hats.

Now he wants to give back.

His mission is to raise money for pediatric cancer research, distribute hats to childhood cancer patients and spread the word about childhood cancer.

In the past, Williams and his family have spent days at the hospital in a room they set up filled with hats.

Hospitals will allow children with pediatric cancer to come into the room and select a hat to keep.

“We see the hats as a way to talk to the kids,” said Williams, who is majoring in ministry and leadership at MBU.

Williams enjoys spending time with the kids because it offers hope by showing what a survivor looks like.

Matt’s Hats also hosts an event, called Matt’s Hat Day, at local schools to help raise money and awareness.

Participating schools allow students to wear a hat to school for the day at a price of one dollar.

At the end of the day, the students have the option of donating their hat to Matt’s Hats, to then be donated to children with cancer.

Williams is proud of how far the organization has come, but he is now struggling to find a way to keep it going after moving away from home to attend school at MBU.

One of the biggest problems the organization runs into is that it needs more people to make the programs continue to happen.

“We are kind of in limbo right now as far as the right way to go about reaching the kids and also maximizing how we get hats to them,” Williams said. “In the past we just go to the hospital, but that limits it because we (Matt and his parents) have to work around our schedules.”

Williams’ hope is to have enough people willing to volunteer to continue his mission more effectively and someday become a global organization.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help Matt’s Hats can contact him through

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Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris is photo editor and journalist for MBU Timeline. Harris is majoring in Communications with minors in Broadcast Media and Public Relations. Born and raised in Orange County, Virginia, Harris moved to St. Louis in the fall of 2013 to attend MBU. Harris enjoys spending her free time reading, doing yoga or anything outdoors.


About MBU Timeline


Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student newsmagazine of Missouri Baptist University, in St. Louis:
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
*The Bible verse that drives our mission is 2 Timothy 2:15 (Worldwide English Version): “Tell the true message in the right way.”
*The WordPress website has been up since late-fall 2013. We average about 3,000 sessions and about 5,000 pageviews per month.
*Our stories and galleries get as few as 40 or 50 hits, or as many as 8,000 hits.
*We have readers in every state and more than 90 countries around the world. We have several readers in South America, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
*Most of our readers are in Missouri, followed by Illinois, California and Texas.
*We do not accept advertising as we are a not-for-profit online newsmagazine.
*We welcome contributors from all walks of MBU life, regardless of your major. Reach out to us on Twitter at: @mbutimeline.