Olivia Brockhoff proudly displays PJs she has collected so far. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
Heart warming and leg warming.
That’s the best way to describe Project PJ, operated by 14 year-old Olivia Brockhoff, who has a heart of gold.
The Grade 9 student at Holy Rosary High School is out to change the world, at least her little corner of it, by donating new pyjamas to kids and teens at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
Project PJ began in 2015 to bring comfort and joy to her friend’s sister, Brynly, who was being treated for cancer at the Stollery hospital wearing issued sleepwear.
“She complained about the PJs and how gross they were and she didn’t like them,” said Brockhoff.
“She’s all better now and so I thought I wasn’t doing enough in the world, and that’s what I wanted to change.”
This is the third year for Project PJ with a goal to collect 1,000 pairs of Pjs for all ages, with an immediate need for teen sizes.
Brockhoff’s Project PJ Facebook page noted she had collected 231 pairs by Nov. 8 with the delivery date on Dec.1, when she and her mom Patricia drop them off.
“It’s nice; it’s really heartwarming, and the nurses come up to me and they all know who I am and they all talk to me and ask me questions and it’s great,” said the teen.
“They bring comfort and warmth, and it’s great around the Christmas season because a lot of people have to stay there over Christmas.”
Since Brockhoff launched Project PJ, many other supporters have jumped on board in the Border City to donate PJs and spread the word.
“A lot of people in my school know about it—tons of hockey teams have donated Pjs,” said Brockhoff, who also volunteers at the Lloydminster Food Bank in the summer and at school.
Her mom also thinks Project PJ is pretty special, and she couldn’t hold back her enthusiasm for her’s daughter efforts.
“I think what really gets to me is the outpouring of support that we’ve had from friends, family and local businesses that want to support her to achieve her goal, she said.
“Last year her goal was 1,000 pairs and she got 1,288, so we are hoping to beat that goal if possible.”
Drop off locations are Wayside Dental, Alta Sask Medical Wellness, and Meridian Surveys.
This year, Project PJ is planning to attach labels onto the tags inviting the Stollery pyjama kids to follow the campaign on Facebook where they can contact Brockhoff.
“We’ve gotten sent pictures from the parents of the kids wearing the Pjs, and that’s great to see,” the teen said.
“They will text my mom and say ‘thank you so much; my granddaughter’s in the Stollery’ and they will be like, this is great and so heart warming.’”
“We don’t do it for the thank-yous,” added her mom.
“We just do it so we can help someone.”