Annual Newsletter – Fall 2015

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Our Annual Newsletter is available! Click HERE to download an Adobe PDF copy of this year’s newsletter and see all the wonderful strides we have made in the past year at the Conner M. Holland Foundation. Remember to share with your friends and family!

If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it here.

About the Conner M. Holland Foundation

Caring for a child with pediatric cancer is one of the most challenging situations any parent could face. Medical problems quickly turn to financial issues as one or both caregivers stop working to focus on the health of their child. During this struggle, no one should have to worry about growing stacks of unpaid bills. At the Conner M. Holland Foundation, we aim to relieve families of financial and emotional burdens as they walk through the journey of a life-threatening illness. Since forming the foundation in the Spring of 2012, we have provided grants to 11 local families to help them as they fight pediatric cancer. We believe that together, we can make a difference.

If you would like some information about our foundation or how you can help, please contact us at info@cmhollandfoundation.org, or call us at 717-850-3540.

Conner’s Comfy PJ Distribution Has Begun for 2015!

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The 2015 Comfy PJ distribution has begun for this year, and we are so excited to get new pajamas packed and delivered to our partner hospitals throughout the region. The journey from collection to distribution is not taken lightly, and we pride ourselves in giving each of our pajamas a “special touch” before it is distributed throughout the area. It’s what Conner wanted for every child who is affected by pediatric cancer, and we enjoy fulfilling his wish for those who have to spend time in the hospital.

2015 Comfy PJ Packing

Pajama Packing Day: Many volunteers of friends and family get pajamas ready for distribution!

The distribution process takes not only planning, but involves many helping hands in getting things organized and ready to go! Sheryl Holland, co-founder of the foundation, gets excited about packing the pajamas, and says that she “holds a ‘pajama packing day’, where friends and family come to my house and help me pack pajamas.” To start off the packing day process, new pajamas are collected and sorted based upon gender, season, and size. They are then folded, labeled, and packed neatly into ziplock bags. To add a personal touch let them know that we care about their children’s comfort while spending time in the hospital, we include a special note explaining Conner’s wish, along with our contact information.

Once the pajamas are packed and ready to go, each partner hospital is contacted to ask if they need pajamas and we are proud to say that we have never been turned down yet! Sheryl Holland says, “The difference our pajamas bring to families affected by pediatric cancer cannot be measured, as we receive lots of messages and letters saying that their children just smile when they receive their new pajamas. One mom said that her child is admitted often for treatment and she gets so excited to see what new pajamas she will find in her room.”

2015 PJ Drive Packing Day

Pajama Packing Day: Lots of pajamas are collected and sorted for distribution to partnering hospitals throughout the region.

We recently distributed 60 pairs of pajamas to Hershey Medical Center on July 31st, as they ran out of a certain size from the 1,100 pairs we gave them last year. They will get another batch of several hundred around Christmastime. As of right now, 775 pairs are packed and ready to go to St. Jude, Lehigh Valley, St. Christopher, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

We are also excited and in the process of adding Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and Geisinger (Janet Weis Children’s Hospital) to our distribution list! This will allow us to extend our reach and cover the entire state of Pennsylvania. In addition, we also give each of our family grant recipients a pair of pajamas.

For more information about our program, or if you would like to collect or donate a pair of pajamas, please contact us at info@cmhollandfoundation.org. We accept Boys & Girls pajamas, sizes 12 months to 15/16/17 teen sizes, with new tags only and appropriate images (no scary images, please). You can also support our program by holding your own PJ drive, as donations can be made anytime throughout the year.

About Conner’s Comfy PJ Drive

Children who receive inpatient hospital care for cancer are typically limited in their ability to play, often times spending most of their days in bed. We believe making a child comfortable during their stay is important to their overall well-being. We created the Conner’s Comfy PJs Program to meet this need. Each year during the month of May, we collect new pajamas that are distributed year-round to pediatric cancer units at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), St. Christopher, St. Jude, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the Lehigh Valley Hospital. Since the beginning of the program in 2012, we have collected and distributed over 4,500 pajamas to children across the region.

From One of Our Families: Victoria Shacreaw

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Last month, I had the pleasure to meet Victoria Shacreaw, a family from York PA, who was kind enough to share her experiences with pediatric cancer. Here’s Victoria in her own words:

“Our daughter Emily was diagnosed with brain cancer November 21st 2014 at only 17 months old. That day forever changed our lives. From the start was a 3 day hospital stay just for an MRI, then a break for Thanksgiving, then back to the hospital for a brain biopsy of the tumor in her brainstem. That was a 5 day hospital stay. Then the hospitals stays kept coming.  [We kept] driving back and fourth 90 miles round trip, with my husband having to take days, even weeks, off of work so someone could be home taking care of our other 2 children while I was at Hershey taking care of our daughter.  Now every Monday he takes off work so I can take our daughter to get her Chemotherapy. All the time off work and driving and medical bills on top of bills has really strained our family financially.

It came down to the point we needed help, more help then I was willing to admit at the time.  Our social worker at the hospital referred us to the Conner Holland Foundation and they reached out to us and asked us what we needed help with.  We discussed everything over the phone and face to face, they said they could help us and at that moment I felt a relief for the first time in 7 months.  We are so thankful that there are foundations like this that are there to help families out, because when it comes to childhood cancer, not only does it effect your child but it effects the whole family emotionally and financially. Thank you so much Conner Holland Foundation for relieving some of the pressure we had on us, we are so thankful for you guys!”

 

Victoria (left) and Emily Shacreaw

Victoria (left) and Emily Shacreaw

Foundation Helps 4 Families in June 2015

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We at the Conner M. Holland Foundation are passionate about assisting families affected by pediatric cancer, and the passion we displayed during this year’s fundraising gala continued as we issued 4 financial grants to those in need in June 2015.  One special family we helped this month was the Atterberry Family from York PA.  Anjannette cannot work as she provides 24/7 care for her son, Savion, as he undergoes treatment for pediatric cancer.  The funds we raised at this year’s gala allowed us to help Anjannette, allowing her to focus on the health and well being of Savion as he continues to fight his disease.

 

Savion and Anjannette Atterberry at Hershey Medical Center

Savion and Anjannette Atterberry at Hershey Medical Center

Thank you to our donors, who year after year continually sew into our organization, allowing us to make a impact in south central PA. We are grateful for your trust and partnership.

The 2015 Conner’s Comfy PJ’s Drive is in Full Swing!

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It’s May and this year’s Comfy PJ’s Drive is in full swing! Throughout the year, we work with individuals, businesses, academic organizations, and health facilities to collect and distribute pajamas to pediatric units throughout the region, while continuing our mission to fulfill Conner’s wish that every child receives a pair of comfortable pajamas during their stay in the hospital.

Last year proved to be another amazing year in the program, as we collected and distributed 1,345 pajamas, surpassing our initial goal of 1,200. Over 1,000 pajamas were distributed in alliance with the Hershey Medical Center, who have also continued to partner with us this year, to help ensure that every child receives a comfy new pair of pajamas for their inpatient stay.

For 2015, Sheryl Holland, co-founder of the Conner M. Holland Foundation, is hoping to expand Conner’s Comfy PJ Program in more ways than one. “Our goal this year is to collect at least 1,500 new pajamas, while expanding our reach to the entire state of Pennsylvania,” she said. “We are looking to partner with the University of Pittsburgh and the Geisinger Medical Center, but of course our long-term vision is to expand our reach outside and beyond the state of Pennsylvania.”

Along with the Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA, we will again be distributing to the following hospitals throughout the region:

  • Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital – Memphis, TN
  • Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) – Philadelphia, PA
  • Christopher’s – Philadelphia, PA
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital – Allentown, PA

Since the program was inspired by Conner’s idea to share his love for comfy pj’s with other kids affected by pediatric cancer, Sheryl picked the month of May to kick off the pajama drive. “We picked the month of May because it is Conner’s birthday. Even though the drive runs through May, we will accept new pajamas with tags any time throughout the year. Every donation helps, and we also like to give our families who have received a Conner M. Holland Foundation grant a new pair of pajamas,” she says.

CMHF PJ Drive
So how can you help? The best way to help is to donate or collect new pajamas with tags and send them to the Conner M. Holland Foundation, PO Box 8721, Lancaster, PA 17604. You can also contact us at info@cmhollandfoundation.org or call 717-850-3540 for more ideas on how you can contribute to the drive. For health reasons, please remember that we can only accept brand new pajamas with tags, for both boys and girls, sizes 12 months to 16.

About Conner’s Comfy PJ Drive

Children who receive inpatient hospital care for cancer are typically limited in their ability to play, often times spending most of their days in bed. We believe making a child comfortable during their stay is important to their overall well-being. We created the Conner’s Comfy PJs Program to meet this need. Each year during the month of May, we collect new pajamas that are distributed year-round to pediatric cancer units at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), St. Christopher, St. Jude, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Lehigh Valley Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Geisinger Medical Center. Since the beginning of the program in 2012, we have collected and distributed over 3,100 pajamas to children across the region.