#LukeWouldGo – Hats & Camaraderie

The week before this all started in mid-July, we were vacationing in Montana with family.  At some point we found ourselves in Butte browsing at Murdocks. Luke found a must-have carhartt, burgundy wool, fleece-lined hat with both a brim and ear flaps. Not seasonally appropriate, but it did look like a perfect fall acquisition. He blissfully bought it.

Days later our reality drastically shifted. I cut his curls. A nurse shaved what was left of his hair shorter yet. There was a biopsy and a surgery. Within weeks his noggin held a questioning scar and soon-to-be mohawk. As his hair thinned with radiation, the light diminished and the days got cooler. This burgundy hat became a definitive part of his daily attire.

After the 2nd surgery in San Francisco, we were leaving a corner drugstore with tylenol for Luke after a decent walk – considering his newly released state. On the corner a black man was selling papers. He complimented Luke on his hat and followed us half-way across the street – “Dude, where you been shoppin’? I’m gonna have to follow you.”

IMG_0954We joked about Luke’s trend-setting nature and how these hats will be all the rage in San Francisco in no time. He had gotten several compliments around town. I asked if he had considered showing the man why he was donning the hat – all 50+ staples. He smiled. At the next stop, a living foods store whose produce was inspirationally beautiful, the check-out gal complimented him on his hat. He asked her if she wanted to see what it hid. She graciously accepted. The aftermath was all hugs and high-fives.

Hats can provide solace, privacy, protection, warmth, shade and camaraderie.

Shortly after we landed in Portland for Luke’s October 5th marathon with his sister & brother-in-law, their dear friend arrived with a surprise gift of Luke Would Go hats for the team & spirits’ sake. Our team of supporters quickly outgrew the number of hats available. Later she ordered a second round and generously distributed them as far as they went.

If you got one, then you also got this note:

Let’s join together in sporting some Luke Neraas spirit:

1. Wear your new hat!
2. Do something you love or that Luke would dare you to do.
3. Take a photo and post to bring it life. Whoop, Whoop!


Follow @LukeWouldGo on Instagram,
Post with #LukeWouldGo on Instagram or Facebook.

Spread the Love!


So now we can all follow the adventures these hats & our friends have been up to – with Luke in mind. If you were the lucky recipient of a hat, please keep up the good energy and posts. There may yet be another round of hats…

There’s a learning curve to Instagram, but I’m proof that it can be done. I also think posts with or without hats are welcome – adventures abound and we don’t always have our choice caps on in the thick of our best days. Keep it up folks!

At Luke’s work Christmas party, the new company hats were distributed in a variety of exciting colors and with a new addition; embroidered on the side of each was – Luke Strong. A team effort, full of support, belief, hope and strength.


These hats & their messages summarize our community’s sheer will-power to help propel Luke through this major life hurtle – to the other side, if there is such a thing. They send a strong can-do message, provide team support and remind us that everyone is cheering loudly for him.  It can’t hurt and we think it helps.

Luke’s only qualm is with the past tense nature of Luke would go. He prefers Luke will go. We agree that #LukeWillGo is more him; however, in contemplating this sweet gesture, the creator attests that in sharing the spirit of Luke, we’re asking for his inspiration to give us the extra we need when we approach the next big hill, go the added mile, take the first step towards an adventure, or take the long way. We think #LukeWouldGo — and so we do. We carry that strength forward and no doubt every time we do, it builds on itself and helps us all in our next challenges.

I know Luke hopes and plans to adventure with all of you. Given the opportunity, he most certainly will.


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