Pajama Party: Annual event puts smiles on faces of critically ill kids

Annual event puts smiles on faces of critically ill kids

Some program alumni hold pajama drives each year as a way to give back and say thanks for the support received. Giana Gude, is an 8-year-old leukemia survivor. She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 at the age of 2.

PARKERSBURG — This Friday, April 16, is “National Wear Your Pajamas to Work” Day and Casey Cares Foundation is celebrating this quirky day by hosting its sixth annual Biggest Pajama Party.

To celebrate, the foundation is encouraging kids and adults both to wear pajamas to work, school or at home and find ways in which to collect new, two-piece pajamas and gift cards for pizza delivery.

These items will then be distributed to pediatric patients on extended hospital stays and isolated/homebound families who care for a critically ill child.

“This pajama drive was inspired by one of our kiddos, Kamryn, who had a flair for fashion and wanted to wear cozy, soft pajamas instead of scratchy hospital gowns so she set out to help other kids like her,” said Casey Baynes, Casey Cares Foundation executive director and founder. “This makes this promotion so special to us and we hope many will help us to collect these pajamas that truly bring a smile to a sick child.”

Casey Cares gives about 20,000 pajamas a year to hospitals and families within eight different states and their goal for the month of April is 12,000.

“While we are all still struggling through these difficult times, we know that our families are struggling even more and our mission is to help them today and every day,” said Baynes

Casey Cares families live in Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic area and Florida with about 20 families living in West Virginia in Beverly, Buffalo, Charles Town, Greenville, Hedgesville, Lavalette, Madison, Martinsburg, Parkersburg, Pinch, Ranson, South Charleston, West Hamlin and Wheeling.

This party will last all month long, but Casey Cares collects pajamas all year round, so those looking to get involved still have plenty of time to do so.

“We don’t just send a set of pajamas to the patient, we send a set to each family member (parents and siblings),” said Erin Ritter, Deputy Associate Director of the Casey Cares Foundation. “Every activity we send to the families includes the whole family, as a way to help bring some fun and normalcy back into the lives of the family. We just try to make days a little brighter and transition easier.”

Anyone can participate in this drive and here are some details about what is needed:

• $10 or $20 gift cards for movies (Walmart, Amazon, Fandango, Netflix)

• $10 or $20 gift cards for pizza (Papa Johns, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Ledo Pizza)

• NEW two-piece pajamas (infant and adult sizes are always the biggest need)

Groups and individuals can send gifts to Casey Cares (via regular mail or through Amazon Wish List).

Casey Cares Foundation is a non-profit that was founded in 2000 that provides little moments and lasting memories for families with critically ill children by organizing family-centric events such as tickets to sporting events, concerts and museums, group parties, vacation getaways, birthday surprises and more. The foundation tries to organize six everyday activities a year for the families. Currently there are 1,263 families the foundation is working with.

For more information about how to participate, visit https://www.caseycares.org/events/caseycaresbiggestpjparty.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com


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