When Ruth Gilbert Crane ’93, of Medina, Ohio, wasn’t wearing her wig or earrings, she felt even more vulnerable than the breast cancer had already left her. Accessories allowed her to feel “normal,” and she knew she wasn’t alone. In 2008, Crane founded Ears To You, a jewelry donation program for women undergoing chemotherapy.
To date, more than 1,500 earrings have been distributed through the two institutions that offer the program–Cleveland Clinic and Akron General Hospital. The program has been enthusiastically received and attracted the attention of the national magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal. An interview with Crane appears in the section called “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman,” in the October issue, which hit newsstands Sept. 8, 2010.
“When I was going through chemotherapy, I truly felt more attractive, more ‘normal’ when I could accessorize,” says Crane. “I started Ears To You to help other women deal with hair loss and provide a way for them to feel good about themselves at a time when life can seem uncertain and scary.”
Crane hopes to expand the program and is awaiting approval of nonprofit status from the IRS. For more information, see www.earstoyou.org.
Crane received a master’s degree in higher education administration and student personnel from Kent State University and was director of student activities/residence hall director at Otterbein College until 1999. She and her husband, Travis Crane ’94, have three children.