PARKERSBURG - Officials with the state's American Cancer Society have found a company to accept plastic bottle caps once thought to be redeemable for cancer treatments.
Amy Berner, communications director for the West Virginia American Cancer Society, said there is a national company willing to take the plastic bottle caps - though it won't be in exchange for any sort of cancer treatments for patients.
"This is not a facility that cashes in caps for cancer treatments," Berner stressed. "But it is a place where the caps will not go to waste.
In mid-August the Parkersburg News and Sentinel broke the story of a statewide hoax that had people collecting plastic bottle caps - thousands of them - in exchange for cancer treatments. Berner's office has been fielding calls about the hoax all summer. Numerous officials were never able to confirm the story and declared it a hoax.
Now, Berner said a national company has stepped forward and is willing to take the caps. Aveda, a hair and skin company, will collect and recycle the bottle caps.
"They are using them to make new caps for hair and skin care products," she said.
Berner noted Aveda is a green company that also contributes to breast cancer research. The company has a Web site at www.aveda.com.
Berner said an Aveda hair salon in Princeton will take the caps for collection. The caps can be mailed to Hairstudio, 313 Locust St., Princeton, WV 24740.
Aveda will not provide any sort of treatment benefits for cancer patients. But it is an option for people who collected the caps to make use of them instead of throwing them away.
Berner said the salon's owner will have a company representative pick up the caps once a month.
"She said this would be a blessing in disguise," Berner said.
People, including churches, schools and businesses throughout the state, were collecting the caps with the hope of redeeming them to offset the cost of cancer treatments for patients. With the caps for cancer notion now exposed as a hoax, Berner is worried the collected caps have all been discarded.
"My only concern is that people will have already thrown them away," Berner said.
The news is a little late for Aleta Brace.
The Parkersburg woman had collected more than 20,000 bottle caps in the hopes of providing treatment for a young boy in southern West Virginia stricken with leukemia.
Brace said she took her caps to a recycling center several weeks ago.
"I've gotten rid of them," she said. "It seemed like the best thing to do at the time."
In the meantime, Berner said she is still receiving inquiries about the caps for cancer for hoax.
"We are still getting calls. Everyday."