By Elizabeth DeBetta
What do pajamas mean to you? If you are a parent your mind immediately flashes on images of bedtime. Changing your clean, sleepy little ones into cute, cozy pajamas and cuddling up after you’ve tucked them in to read their favorite story; sending them off to dreamland feeling safe, happy and loved. A cherished ritual you would hate to miss.
Too many children do not have that security.
Too many children have never owned a pair of pajamas.
Too many children are going to bed cold, lonely, and afraid.
Children like Rosalie who didn’t know what pajamas were. Children like John who recently told his case worker that he was afraid to go to sleep at night because his parents would fight and he knew there was a gun in the house and he was afraid that one would shoot the other. The simple gift of a new pair of pajamas and an engrossing storybook has helped him relax in the shelter, at night, for the first time.
I am turning forty this year and have a bucket list of sorts. Mostly it’s a list of things I’ve always wanted to do and life goals I’d like to accomplish at some point within this year of the big 4-0. Many women probably think about turning forty and want to throw a party, go on a fancy vacation or buy an expensive pair of shoes, a piece of jewelry, or a designer purse. But not me. Me? I’m running a marathon for charity. The TCS NYC Marathon to be exact. My charity of choice is Pajama Program*.
So many people have asked why in the world I would want to run 26.2 miles again (I ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012). The reason is because I can. I was one of the “lucky” ones; I was adopted at birth and never knew the uncertainty of foster care or being shuffled from place to place. I had parents who tucked me in at night and read me a story. I had clean, warm pajamas to change into at the end of the day. I learned to dream and imagine and achieve goals.
My fundraising goal is set at $4,000 and 100% of donations made will go directly to providing new books, new pajamas, and free literacy programs to the neediest of NYC’s children. I would run 100 miles if it meant giving these children the sense of love and security I was fortunate enough to grow up with. Please help me exceed my goal by donating here:
*This is the inaugural year for Pajama Program to be one of the charity partners and have a race team, and I am so excited to be part of it. Since 2001 Pajama Program has provided over 4 million new books and new pajamas to children across the United States who have been abandoned, abused and/or neglected. Many of them are awaiting adoption and have been living in foster care, shelters or transitional housing oftentimes without much else than the clothing on their backs. The gift of clean, warm, new pajamas and a new book helps them feel loved and cared for and is often the first time they have been given something that they can call their own.