Anthony Gaskins is a milliner by trade. He designs, creates, buys and sells hats. For decades he has run his own business, serving a broad and diverse clientele. But Anthony does more than just that. Hat-making has proven to be a bridge for him. He teaches - formally and informally – about the history and culture surrounding hats. He counsels cancer patients and homeless women, providing them with context and hope for their struggle. Hats have been the pathway for Anthony to serve.
“Everyone has their own personality. And so does every hat. “Hats not only keep your head warm and protect you from the elements, they also provide you with a way to express yourself. Whether the wearer is headed to work, to church, to a social event or a sporting event, a head covering sends a message. With a hat a person can signal their profession, their faith or their favorite team. Hats give people a way to display their culture and their style.
“The two best days of my life so far have been the day I was born and the day I realized why God put me on this earth - to encourage people fighting cancer”. The fight against cancer is very personal to Anthony. It took his parents, his sister and his mentor. So he spent a lot of time in chemo wards. Further, as a store owner, every day oncology wards sent patients his way. They purchased hats they would want or need during chemotherapy. They also found in Anthony, a salesman who understood their coming fight in a very personal way - a man who could offer a sympathetic ear, some advice and encouragement. In the cancer wards patients began asking staff if they could make appointments with him for counseling because they thought he worked there.
Anthony works to encourage cancer patients and their families through hat-making. Having survived the loss of his parents, his sister and mentor from cancer he has experience with the journey. He has served many customers who are engaged in the fight.