Volunteer Nicole Manson is a shining light in the WCK family who has brightened many families’ days with special deliveries of pajamas. Here, she shares her experience of WCK’s PJ Drives from the unique perspective of both giving and receiving them.
I first found out about WCK when my eleven-year-old daughter, Emma, was a patient at Children’s (BC Children’s Hospital). During one of Emma’s last rounds of treatment, we met a WCK volunteer when they were doing “Smoothie Sunday.” They were so nice, and I thought it was a unique idea. We grabbed some smoothies and talked with the girl who was volunteering. I started following WCK shortly after that first encounter.
That was one of the first years of the PJ Drive and I saw that they were asking for donations of PJs for families with a child that had a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis. It felt like an easy way for my family to do something that wasn’t all about cancer for us. So, I asked our family and friends if they could donate some PJs, and my five-year-old son Ben and I delivered them to the WCK office. Emma was supposed to be done with treatment by then, but with some complications we actually ended up staying at the hospital for six weeks over Christmas.
Emma was admitted into BC Children's on the day WCK brought all the PJs. It was really odd timing as it was something that we had been involved in, never thinking we’d be experiencing the actual delivery to Children’s, and here they were bringing them in! There is never a “good” time to be at the hospital, but being there over Christmas is an extra hard time to be isolated from family and friends. We got to see both sides: we knew our contribution, but then to be on the receiving end and see the support of strangers was incredible. People who don’t know you, but are trying to make an unimaginable situation a little better, a little easier…it was overwhelming.
Emma spent so much time in the hospital bed over those next six weeks – it was so nice for her to have a change from the hospital gown and to have a new set of cozy, normal pajamas. Putting on a fresh pair of PJs can be so comforting.
My family and I have delivered PJs to other families over the last couple of years, and it’s become a tradition. We’ll go to the WCK office to pick up the beautifully wrapped PJs and then contact the family to say we’re on the way, and go drop them off. It keeps us connected to WCK, but also…we had so much done for us when Emma was going through this. This is a little way for us to give back.
With the gift of pajamas, I hope families feel like they’re not alone. I hope they can take a moment to enjoy something normal. Childhood cancer turns your world upside down, and for us, finding even the smallest moments that felt normal kept us going. I hope the PJs give families a sense of doing something everyone else is doing. Putting on a fresh pair of jammies. Putting on a Christmas movie. Having hot chocolate. Whatever it is for them, I hope they get that. I hope they know there are people who care and there are people who understand.
The WCK community is warm, fun, inclusive, caring, and always thinking outside the box. One thing I most appreciate is how practical the support for families is. They’re passionate people who just want to help and to take as much of a burden as they can from families that are going through the unimaginable. And they’re doing it. The gift of PJs is one shining example of this.
Hey! I'm Jill.
Ready to be part of the WCK community or take on a new opportunity with us? Reach out to Volunteer Coordinator Jill Leddy at volunteer[at]wckfoundation.ca.