A Crown, A Crisis, A Connection


Last summer I had the privilege of meeting Donna, an amazing mom to two boys and a very talented artist.

We both had booth space at the MOPS International Convention and I couldn’t believe the long line of ladies waiting to get their hands on the crowns she had made.

Anyone that knows me and my locker room lifestyle understands that girly, frilly things don’t attract me. But Donna’s crowns were different and when I found out why she was laboring over these awesome hats I became a huge fan of her and the Tough Tiaras ministry.

Sewn inside each hat is a tag that reads “It’s Not Easy Wearing A Crown”. Some of us wear the crown of business woman, educator, mother, wife, friend, daughters and those “crowns” can get pretty heavy at times! But it’s an honor to wear these crowns from our life and it doesn’t hurt to look super cute while carrying out your responsibilities.


Almost six years ago Donna heard the dreaded phrase, “abnormal test results”, and discovered what it meant to face cancer. After multiple tests and discussions with her doctor Donna decided to proceed with a hysterectomy in order to prevent the cancer from spreading. With her youngest son in preschool and Christmas coming Donna decided to help her family’s Christmas be as normal and wonderful as ever, even though she would be recovering from surgery when December 25th came.

In a short two weeks Donna did all of her Christmas shopping, wrapped the gifts, made and froze cookie dough, created stockings for each boy (their annual tradition of making a stocking to represent whatever theme/activity each boy is interested in for that year), tried to keep the house clean, make meals and preparing for major surgery.

Although Donna’s diagnosis was pre-cancer, the experience opened her eyes to the reality other women face when they are fighting cancer on a much larger scale.


While working for an educational company, homeschooling her boys and caring for her animals; a friend showed Donna a hat she had purchased at a craft show. Her friend challenged her to use the creative, crafty skills God had given her to create her own hats and see if this might be a business she could pursue on her own.

Not wanting to imitate or copy the hat in front of her, Donna started dreaming up her own designs. She chose a thick, well-constructed hat and decided to use real rhinestone that are hand set with four prongs that grip the other side of the fabric.  Much more sturdy than if they are glued or ironed on. She wanted these hats to last and to be made with a quality she could be proud of.

After some trial runs, her company started in 2010 and has been growing ever since. Donna’s experience with a possible cancer diagnosis and thee many women around her fighting for their life helped her connect these tiaras with the women who could wear them as a crown.

Donna gives hats to women battling cancer. She travels to hospitals and treatment centers, passing out hats, hugs and prayers for these wonderful women. She never asks a cancer patient to pay for the hat – but instead to wear it with pride and to keep fighting.

Each hat is handmade, specific to the woman’s request. Donna is still working and trying to continue with Tough Tiaras.  She said there have been times when the physical, financial and emotional strain of a ministry and a business have been tough – but God has been faithful. Each time Donna wanted to walk away or wondered if this was the right path God would allow her to minister to a woman or find a store that wanted to carry her hats and she now knows that these hats MUST continue no matter the sacrifice.

During our interviewing Donna I asked her what keeps her moving forward and fighting this good fight. She said, “I believe that when you are going through a tough season in your life, instead of letting Satan have a foot hold and defeat you, look for ways to minister and help other people.  It opens your eyes and you realize there are other people dealing with things.”

Donna will be the first to admit that her fight against cancer was “tame” compared to other women – but I’m so thankful she allowed that experience, no matter how tame or wild it was, to open her eyes to a need. God is using her hands to minister to women across the country and I hope all of us in the Smarter Moms community will go to her website, order a hat and wear our crown with pride!

With each hat purchased, money goes toward the hats that are donated. Donna’s goal is to grow this business into a non-profit and reach even more women and girls with this message of hope.

You’ve seen pictures of multiple hats throughout this post – these are just the tip of the iceberg!

Donna makes hats specific to your needs. Perhaps you need particular colors to match your child’s sports team – let her know and she’ll make it happen! Want matching mom and daughter hats? She can do it!

Donna also supports Alana’s Angels and Beads of Courage – visit their sites and learn more about these precious patients and the hospitals helping them heal.

Donna, you are an inspiration. Keep making these amazing hats and thank you for reminding all of us that God gave us a Crown to wear with pride, He carries us through our Crisis moments and through it all we can stay Connected to each other through hope and love.

Click Donna’s logo to the left and connect with her! Let her know the kind of hat, colors and style you’d like. Check out her Gallery of Tiaras and remember – every hat you purchase supports women who are fighting cancer. Hats range from $30-$35, are made-to-order, and ship within 10 days of being ordered.

Become a fan of Tough Tiaras on Facebook and hear about Donna’s latest designs!

Make sure you visit our Smarter Moms Page on Facebook to learn how you could win a hat from Donna and Tough Tiaras!

Dear Smarter Mom,

Thank you for getting up each morning, putting on your crown and fighting the good fight for your family. Each of you carries the title mom and although things can sometimes get tough – you never give up. Our crown comes with enormous responsibility and even greater rewards – our children!

Blessings to you! Thanks for leaving a comment, ordering a hat and passing this on to others!


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