EDMONTON – Patients at the Stollery Children’s Hospital will be sleeping easier over the holidays.
It’s all due to the work of a 12-year-old girl from Lloydminster.
This fall, Olivia Brockhoff decided she didn’t want any presents for her birthday. Instead, she wanted to donate pyjamas to the Stollery.
“My friend’s sister was really sick in the hospital for a very long time, and she didn’t like the PJs,” Olivia explained.
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“They were itchy, and weren’t very warm, and I thought, ‘That really, really sucks.’”
Olivia and her mother, Patricia, went all over the community looking for pyjamas they could donate. Olivia told her classmates about her donation drive, and Patricia spread the word at work. When they received cash donations, they spent them immediately on more pyjamas.
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“We would go out and buy the PJs right away, because I was so excited. So we would go to the store, buy lots, and then we would get more money, and more PJs… It was really exciting.”
Not long after starting their donation drive, Patricia posted a notice online, looking for pyjamas to donate. From there, their humble journey took on a life of its own.
“My mom put it on Facebook, and it went viral,” said Olivia.
Olivia and her mother were hoping to donate 100 pairs of pyjamas to the Stollery once their project was finished. They wound up with nearly five times that.
On Friday afternoon, Olivia donated more than 460 pyjamas to the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
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“You just think, ‘I really lucked out. I really lucked out. I have a great kid and she wants to be great for other people, and she is very humble and excited and has the biggest, most giving heart,” said Patricia.
“It’s taught a 12-year-old girl that her ideas matter and you can change the world. It’s crazy.”
Hospital staff were also excited about the donation.
“This is tremendous for children and families at the Stollery,” said Jill Painter, a child life specialist at the Stollery.
“This will bring such happiness and joy – especially this time of year – to children and it’s just so amazing for people to think of us.”
For Olivia, donating the pyjamas was the highlight of her holidays.
“I feel really, really good about it, because it’s like a Christmas gift to me just knowing that kids will be happy.”
“I think it’s good for people not to think about themselves, and think for other people, at the same time.”