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Cancer Patient Family Donates Unique Scarves to UPMC

UPMC Hillman CC


WHAT: UPMC Hillman Cancer Center patients and cancer survivors will receive unique head scarves with messages of hope and encouragement from Hope Scarves and the family of a Pittsburgh woman who raised funds for the scarves to be presented in her honor. 


The late Roberta Szpara of Pittsburgh was the first ever recipient of a Hope Scarf in 2009 when she and the organization’s founder met at a conference. Knowing what the scarves meant to Roberta during her treatment, her family raised more than $3,000 to donate more than 100 scarves (and counting) to cancer patients at UPMC Hillman and at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital


WHY: Both Roberta Szpara and Hope Scarves’ founder Lara MacGregor were diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in their early 30s, which progressed to metastatic stage 4 cancer. Hope Scarves began after Lara first presented her scarf to Roberta, who then returned it when she completed treatment so that the scarf could be given to another patient. Today, Hope Scarves is a non-profit organization that collects scarves, along with messages and personal stories, from those who have been treated for cancer. The scarves and stories are paired to spread hope to others in treatment. Since 2012, more than 14,000 Hope Scarves have been sent to people facing more than 90 types of cancer in every state and in 24 countries. 




  • Stanley M. Marks, M.D., chairman, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
  • Lara MacGregor, founder, Hope Scarves 
  • Vikram Gorantla, M.D., medical oncologist, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
  • Stephanie Dutton, chief operating officer and vice president, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center


WHEN: 12:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28.


WHERE: UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Atrium–Ground Floor, 5115 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, 15232.


Note to Media: To cover this event, arrangements must be made in advance by contacting Cyndy Patton at 412-415-6085 or

For Journalists

Cynthia Patton

Wendy Zellner
Vice President