Mt. Hebron held a “PJammin” For Kids With Cancer event on Friday, Feb. 15 to support the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO). Students were encouraged to wear pajamas raise awareness for ACCO.
“While no one close to me has ever experienced cancer, I can see the toll that it takes on both the people that must bare witness and, of course, the person themself. My friend had lost her father to cancer in middle school, and her life was completely changed from her responsibilities to how she saw the world. I see the toll that it takes – losing a life. It’s vital that we take a stand against it, in any way possible, such as in events like PJammin Day,” said sophomore Rishika Kokatam.
While similar to a normal pajama day, Mt Hebron’s PJammin Day also provided an opportunity for faculty and students to donate money to the ACCO during lunch shifts. The donations will support the ACCO in their mission of helping the families of children with cancer.
Established in 1970, the ACCO is an organization dedicated to fighting childhood cancer and supporting children with cancer. AACO ‘s motivation derives from the fact that “kids can’t fight cancer alone,” as stated on their website.
ACCO was organized by a group of 25 parents who were affected by childhood cancer. Kathleen Rea Monaco was one of the first parents who helped change the stigma of childhood cancer and help make change for it. She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only 18 months old. Her doctors did not encourage her family to talk to others outside of their family about the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, every year, roughly 16,000 children between the ages of birth and 19 years old are diagnosed with cancer. Approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.
The PJammin event originates from how many children with cancer are forced to live their lives between physically and mentally demanding treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Usually the children remain in bed, in their pajamas, for weeks at a time, if not longer.
The event was created to raise awareness for the strength and bravery of the children who are fighting cancer. Because of the loneliness childhood cancer brings, PJammin Day is also meant to show children who have cancer that they are not alone.
As the ACCO webpage said, children miss school, time with loved ones, and the chance at a normal childhood due to cancer treatments. Confined to their bedrooms or hospital beds, these children face loneliness as their weakened immune systems mean isolation.
Sophomore Henna Poon stated, “Personally, I can connect with the kids who have cancer because I had a grandpa who also suffered from cancer. He was very caring from what I remember and always had a smile on his face, but my grandpa lived his whole life. It’s devastating to think that kids who have barely been a part of this world yet get cancer. I’m glad to donate money in order to at least provide them a chance at life.”
ACCO has changed the willingness to advocate for cancer and through programs like the PJammin Day hosted at Mt. Hebron, families and children affected by cancer can find the support they need.