Pirates and Princesses Party with Childrens Hospital Patients

For immediate release: October 03, 2014

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Kami’s Jammies, one of six programs organized by the Casey Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization with a passion for encouraging pediatric patients, works with the UMCH Child Life team to make monthly visits to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital where they provide new pajamas and themed parties for pediatric patients.  During one such party, the Children’s Hospital helped host a “Pirates-and-Princesses” party, themed in honor of National Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, and featuring an appearance by Rapunzel, a mermaid and two swashbuckling pirates. The parties are designed to help children feel like kids again and forget about being sick in a hospital.

Debi Katzenberger, founder of Kami’s Jammies, started this event in memory of her granddaughter, a former patient at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.  According to Katzenberger, the parties are her expression of gratitude for the quality care her granddaughter received at the hands of the dedicated Children’s Hospital staff.

Hospital roommates Mattigan Philip, 12, and Robin Glenn, 5, ventured out of their room to the party.  Robin decorated a crown and played with a volunteer from Casey Cares, an interaction that added some much needed variance to her typical hospital routine. 

Sheila Phillip, Mattigan’s mother, was grateful for the pajamas that were distributed earlier in the day as a personal and comfortable alternative to hospital gowns.  “They make the kids more comfortable … we especially like the flannel pants,” she said.  “[Mattigan] put them on right away,” added her father, Mike Phillip.

Rapunzel, also known as Alexis Cucina, has been visiting local children’s hospitals for three years.  She enjoys interacting with the kids and usually does face painting, but loved her transformation into a beloved fairy-tale character. Having a princess in the hospital will definitely liven up the afternoon, and 16-year-old patient Vanessa Parker agrees that “it gets your mind off everything … it’s something to do other than sitting in bed.”

Child Life Assistant Allyson Halvenson, watched as the kids enjoyed their crafts and visitors.  She especially appreciated the effort that Kami’s Jammies made to supply portable, bedside-appropriate crafts that could be taken to bed-ridden patients.  “This absolutely draws [the kids] out … as something special to look forward to,” she said. 

Thanks to Casey Cares for continuing to support the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

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