Teen starts charity to help hospital patients like herself by donating pajamas to kids
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Not everyone can be at home for the holidays.
For children with a chronic illness, it's especially tough.
A teen from Wyoming knows what that’s like. She’s started a charity to help other kids who are stuck in the hospital on Christmas.
14-year-old Mallory Heitfeld is known by some of the kids at Cincinnati Children's Hospital as ‘Pajama Girl.’ For the past three years, she collected new PJ’s at Christmas time and is donating them.
Mallory and her mom Kay sort through the pajamas, people have donated at the LaRosa’s on Springfield Pike. A cardboard box for the charity they started, "Kudos Kids", is up there and at three other spots in Wyoming.
"It’s nice to have pajama’s that you can wear and not have to be stuck in a gown," said Mallory.
Mallory is doing this because she knows exactly what it's like to be a patient. She still is one.
She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 3rd grade and has been in and out of the hospital for six years. It’s something she’s dealing with now in the midst of her charity drive.
"As of right now I’m in a flare so I’m having issues like belly pain and nausea. So I’m going in for testing over the holidays," said Mallory.
Mallory and her mom say the doctors, nurses, and patients on the Gastroenterology floor have become like family. They want to make sure they’re remembered over the holidays.
"The GI floor or GI diseases, in general, can be kind of lonely and it’s not just glamorous if you will," said Kay.
Mallory knows her efforts are helping. She's gotten these thank you letters from patients who call her "the pajama girl".
She said it adds that “home away from home sort of feeling to the hospital room that you can be in for a day up to 3 weeks. It helps makes the stay less stressful and more enjoyable.”
Mallory and her family plan to donate the PJ’s to Children's Hospital on Christmas Eve. The goal is to collect enough for all 80 of the kids who are patients on the GI floor.