After losing his father to cancer in 2006, he’s been searching for a way to help others battling the disease.
After battling a substance use disorder for 10 years, he found his path to recovery while incarcerated. Learning to crochet in prison gave him a sense of purpose and newfound life skill to use for helping others.
He is 12 years in recovery to date.
In 2018 a friend requested a soft hat for her cousin who was battling cancer and thus The Battle Cap Project took form. He had found his calling and decided to create this free service for anyone fighting cancer. With the suggestion from his wife he decided to create care packages (Battle Kits).
To date, over 2000 Battle Caps and Battle Kits have been sent to over 22 countries and all 50 states.
He now works as a peer support specialist/supervisor in Madison, WI. Working with people that have mental health and substance use disorders.
He is a father to a wonderful and energetic (7 yr old) son, and married to an exceptional woman who is the love of his life.
In The News
Kurt has been interviewed by multiple news stations about the work he is doing and The Battle Cap Project is in the database for the American Cancer Society as a resource for all cancer patients. Click on the links below for the news articles.
Edgerton resident Wendy Oren is waiting for her hair to grow back from the chemotherapy treatments she’s been undergoing for the past several months.
“Janesville Saint Mary’s Hospital diagnosed me with ovarian cancer in July,” Oren said.
Oren now wears a chemo cap to conceal her hair loss, which she said is “more comfy and cozy and softer than the wigs they give you.”
“Kurt is definitely doing something that is very, very, very powerful,” Oren said.
Stapleton said he only wishes to do good things like this for others, make his father proud and pay it forward.
“I wish I could go back and tell the people that I’ve truly hurt that I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” Stapleton said. “But I also hope they see me and see what I’m doing with my life.”
Posted: February 7, 2019 4:42 AM
Updated: December 19, 2019 11:08 AM
by Jamie Perez
If you asked Kurt Stapleton if he ever thought he’d be where he currently is, tucked in his comfy chair, crocheting hats for cancer patients, he would look at you with a sense of disbelief.
“12 years ago I was desperate, I was depressed, and I was at one of the lowest points in my life,” Stapleton said. “Sitting here today was not even a thought in my mind with where I was in my drug use, I don’t think I would have been here.”
In 2005, Stapleton’s father was diagnosed with cancer, transforming the strong truck driver and seemingly unbreakable figure he had grown up with. His father ultimately passed away.
It was days before his wedding when he lost his job, and that’s when he said, things took a turn for the worse.
“I pretended like everything was fine,” he said. “Two weeks after our wedding was when I finally reached the point of desperation.”
Fueled by an addiction to pain relievers, Stapleton robbed a pharmacy. He attempted to rob another, which he said didn’t work. He was driving home when he saw the police lights.
It was in prison where Stapleton learned the skill that ultimately ended up changing his life, enabling him to turn a passion, into a purpose.
By Isabel Lawrence
Published: Dec. 17, 2019 at 12:02 PM CST