As a kid, she was always in hospitals. Now she's helping other sick kids feel cozy.
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State Farm

Pajamas can help us feel warm, comfortable, and safe, no matter how we're feeling physically. It would make sense for kids to get them when they're in the hospital — but most don't.

Jaz Gray certainly didn't, even though she was a hospital regular as a kid, having been born with one of the rarest vascular anomalies in the world.

It's called an arteriovenous malformation, which is basically a tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins. While they most often form in the brain or spine, Gray's is on her jaw.


Jaz Gray. All photos via State Farm.

The anomaly caused her to have over 40 surgeries across 20 years, many of which occurred when she was a child. As a result, there was a period of time when she was spending almost every holiday in the hospital, which, needless to say, wasn't fun.

But one of the things she particularly disliked were the basic hospital gowns she had to wear.

"I remember being a kid in the hospital having to put on those black and white hospital gowns, and I was so ashamed because my behind was sticking out the back," Gray says.

As a high school senior, Gray decided to start an organization dedicated to giving kids in hospitals pajamas.

She named it Jaz's Jammies.

Gray organizing pajamas.

Gray wanted to help give back a sense of comfort and normalcy to kids who no doubt are going through something difficult.

It may sound like a small thing, but getting to wear regular pajamas while in a strange, sometimes scary place like a hospital can make all the difference.

"Pajamas are something that probably many of us take for granted," Gray says.

Not only do they help kids feel cozy, but since they come in so many colors and patterns, they're a form of expression. When kids are stuck in the hospital, getting to choose a unique set of pajamas helps remind them that they're special.

A child in a hospital getting pajamas.

Since 2006, Jaz's Jammies has collected nearly 6,000 pairs of pajamas for kids.

She gets the pajamas from school drives, generous communities, and other philanthropic organizations. Volunteers then bring those donations to hospitals like Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

They even host what they call "pajama parties" so kids can pick out their own pajamas just as if they were shopping in a store.

And the experience is as much of a gift for the parents as it is for the kids. Seeing their kids get excited over picking new pajamas after dealing with perhaps many tense moments brings about a next level kind of joy.

"To have parents walk up to us and say 'Thank you. You don’t know how much this means' — it’s an amazing experience," says Erika Maclin, a Jaz's Jammies volunteer.

The volunteers, young and old, receive the greatest gift of all — the knowledge that they're making a kid's life better.

For Gray, seeing how proud people get after they've helped put on a Jaz's Jammies drive lets her know she's doing something right.

Gray giving a presentation on Jaz's Jammies at a school.

"That’s where you can really see the power," Gray says.

Jaz's Jammies is truly a community effort and would not have achieved as much as it has in the last decade if it weren't for all the people who believe in its mission.

And it wouldn't be a reality at all if Gray hadn't gone through what she did as a child. So, in a way, she's grateful for her hardship.

Gray put it succinctly: "There’s a rainbow in every storm."

Watch the story of Jaz's Jammies here:

Help for the Holiday's: Jaz's Jammies

After spending much of her life in a hospital, she's bringing cozy pajamas to children who are struggling the way she did.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, December 11, 2017
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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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