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Mother collecting new pajamas for hospitalized children

For children who are hospitalized, new pajamas can make a strange room feel a little more like home.

For a fifth year, New Windsor resident Wendy Coe is organizing a pajama collection in Westminster for hospitalized kids. She said it all started after her daughter was born October 2008.

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"She was born at Carroll County Hospital with Group B Strep, and was very sick from the get-go," Coe said of her daughter Natalie.

Natalie was moved from Carroll Hospital Center to University of Maryland Medical Center and then to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she contracted a secondary infection, according to Coe.

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"It was terrifying but I was blown away by the people, the nurses and doctors," Coe said of her daughter's hospitalizations. "There was a [Project] Linus blanket program and stickers. I was humbled by the whole experience," she said.

"When I had a chance to give back, I'd heard about Casey Cares [Foundation] and I decided to collect pajamas. These kids are staying in a super-scary place and then they get a pair of Sponge Bob pajamas and suddenly life is a little better," Coe said.

The mission of Casey Cares Foundation is to provide "ongoing, uplifting programs with a special touch to critically ill children and their families." Its Kami's Jammies program — started to provide new sleepwear and themed pajama parties to pediatric hospital patients — was inspired by leukemia patient Kamryn Lambert, a child who had frequent hospital stays. "A frequent, overnight hospital patient, Kamryn, who bravely battled leukemia, felt special when she wore a new pair of pajamas in place of hospital gowns," according to the foundation website.

Coe said her first pajama collection was on Natalie's first birthday. "We'd been keeping her away from germs for so long and her birthday was a big deal for a lot of [friends and family] because it was the first time they were seeing her," she said. Coe asked friends to bring pajamas for Kami's Jammies, instead of a gift. She ended up collecting several dozen pairs.

"Every year I get more and more," she said of her pajama collection, noting that she did skip one year of collecting, the year her son was born. "My last donation included over 250 [pairs of pajamas] and I want to top that this year," Coe said.

You can make a difference when you drop off pajamas at the Carroll Chiropractic Center in Westminster during October. Coe said she worked there for five years, before she had a son and became a stay-at-home mom. "I think they love the program as much as I do," she said of her former co-workers.

"To see these kids, your heart is breaking and you want to do something, and it is so easy to do something like this," Coe said.

Coe created a website that includes fun ideas on how to collect pajamas: http://www.jammiesforkids.com/.

She said she can arrange for pajamas to be picked up at a donor's convenience.

Coe said the pajamas will go to critically ill children staying at hospitals in the area, including Carroll Hospital Center, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Children's Hospital-University of Maryland Medical Center and Sinai Children's Hospital.

Carroll Chiropractic Center is at 330 140 Village Road.

To learn more about Kami's Jammies, visit the Casey Cares website at http://www.caseycaresfoundation.org.

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For more information, email Coe at mamaluloo518@gmail.com or call Carroll Chiropractic Center at 410-876-8881.

Sounds of bluegrass

Zion United Methodist Church of Shipley is bringing back its monthly series of Saturday Night Bluegrass music. The series runs October through April annually, except for December.

Bands for the first two months in the 2014-2015 season have been announced. From 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 4, attendees can enjoy the music of Carroll County Ramblers. On Nov. 1 the Hickory Hill Bluegrass Band will entertain during the same time frame.

There is no charge for the event, but a freewill offering will be taken.

Refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the evening, including sandwiches, soups, chips, desserts, soda, water and coffee.

The church is at 2716 Old Washington Road, south of Westminster.

For more information, call Barbara Klinefelter at 410-795-3585 or 410-857-4444.

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. To contact her, call 410-346-7321 or email szymanski3@verizon.net.

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