Pajama Day Spotlights

Putting the “Yay” in Pajama Day

For students and staff at schools around the region, CHOP’s annual Pajama Day fundraiser is not just a chance to be extra coxy at school for the day, it’s also an opportunity to support a cause near and dear to their hearts.

Orchard Hills Elementary School

One of the top fundraising schools – year after year – for Pajama Day is Orchard Hills Elementary School in Skillman, NJ. Second-grade teacher Lisa Piccirillo launched the event at the school to raise awareness about the amazing care children receive at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), raise funds to support that care, and create a fun event for the school’s students. CHOP has a special place in Lisa’s heart as her baby daughter, Rhiannon, received life-saving treatment at CHOP. Days after she was born, Rhiannon was diagnosed with a heart condition (severe aortic stenosis) that affects the blood flow in the heart. She was rushed to CHOP at 3 days old, underwent treatment for her condition and continues to receive follow-up care at the hospital. “I think it helps the kids understand why we’re raising funds for CHOP when they see pictures of Rhiannon,” says Lisa.

Merion Elementary School

Third-grade teacher Gretchen Condon had a very special reason for launching Pajama Day at her school: her youngest son, Miles. While pregnant with her third son, doctors discovered Miles would have a rare disease and Gretchen needed to give birth to him in a facility that could offer support for him before, during and after birth. The family found that and more at the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, part of the Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Miles was diagnosed with X-linked chondrodysplasia punctata 1 (CDPX1), a rare disorder of bone and cartilage. He spent 47 days in CHOP’s Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit. Now 1 year old, Miles is busy keeping up with his two older brothers and continues to see a variety of specialists at CHOP for follow-up care. “Pajama Day is a great way to give back to CHOP and help so many other kids like Miles,” Gretchen says. “We’re excited for another great event at Merion!”

The Meadowbrook School

As a kindergarten teacher, Ashleigh Walter knew one of the best ways to get her students excited about helping others was by adding an element of fun, dress up and competition to the day. Pajama Day at The Meadowbrook School was born. The money raised by students, teachers and staff that day benefit Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) – where Ashleigh’s two daughters, Lani and Mae, receive care. Lani, 9, is being treated at CHOP for DOCK8 deficiency (dedicator of cytokinesis 8 deficiency), a rare immunodeficiency syndrome that can cause severe recurrent infections that can be life-threatening. Mae, 13, also has a genetic variant and is being closely monitored by CHOP. “Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia helps kids who have common and rare diseases, like my daughters,” Ashleigh says. “By raising funds and having fun, we are bringing attention to the ways CHOP can help kids in our region and around the world.”

Clara Barton Elementary

Pajama Day is one of the students’ favorite days at Clara Barton Elementary. Last year’s event was extra special – students raised funds to support brain tumor research in honor of one of their own students, Laney, (pictured) a first grader and cancer survivor. When Laney was 2½ years old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a difficult time for Laney, her older siblings at Clara Barton and her entire family, says her mom Nichole Mood. The school community rallied around the family – providing gift cards for meals and extra support to the family. Since her diagnosis in 2018, Laney has undergone five surgeries, two rounds of chemo, 63 infusions and 25 rounds of proton radiation. Today, Nicole says, “students get to see a miracle walking down their hallways – a miracle CHOP made possible!” Laney is thrilled her school is raising funds to support brain cancer care and treatment for other kids like her. Adds her mom: “More Pajama Days equal more breakthroughs!”

Groveland Elementary School

Supporting the community has been an integral part of the culture at Groveland Elementary School since it was founded more than 20 years ago. One of the most popular charitable events the Doylestown, PA, school holds each year is Pajama Day. School Nurse Stacey Hickmott says it’s a great way to support CHOP – an organization near and dear to their hearts because so many of the school’s students – including her own son (pictured) – have been supported by or treated at CHOP. Pajama Day is a chance to honor past students and support kids currently battling illness. Adds Hickmott: “What could be better than a Pajama Day to raise money for CHOP?”

Pajamas & You: Making a Difference

Make the most of your school’s Pajama Day event by fundraising for young patients at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.