Students wear pajamas to show support for pediatric cancer patients

Student government and Cancer Kids First organize pajama spirit day in support of pediatric cancer patients

Students wore various pajamas to school in support of pediatric cancer patients. The spirit day was meant to help inspire students to fight pediatric cancer.

On September 15th, Highlanders collectively decided not to change their night-time clothes for school in the morning. Around every corner was a different pair of plaid pajama pants and funny-looking slippers.

McLean’s first Be A Good Neighbor initiative of the 2022-2023 school year took place this Thursday. McLean students participated in a pajama-themed spirit day to spread awareness for pediatric cancer. This was McLean’s way of giving back to the local community. This first initiative was a joint effort between the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Cancer Kids First organization at McLean, which works towards bettering the childhood of kids with cancer.

“Last year, Dr. Reilly mentioned that she wanted to help our social impact as a school on the local community,” said Olivia Zhang, SGA president and Founder/CEO of Cancer Kids First. “That’s something I am really passionate about, so we started the Be A Good Neighbor initiative.”

The SGA’s goal is to have a different monthly cause for the McLean community to help support, and September’s cause is pediatric cancer. Students were encouraged to dress out in pajamas or gold, the color of the ribbon for pediatric cancer, in honor of these patients.

“Students are essentially wearing the uniform of pediatric cancer patients, which is why we chose to create that kind of atmosphere for Thursday,” Zhang said.

The end goal of this spirit day was that the support for pediatric cancer does not stop with wearing pajamas to school. The hope is that after the spirit day, the cause will stick with students and inspire them to take further action in fighting pediatric cancer.

“We all have a lot of things that kids with cancer don’t get to experience, so I would like to see people start researching childhood cancer and taking that next step of donating time or money to the cause,” Zhang said.

While inspiring further action was the much larger goal behind the spirit day, Zhang and others alongside her in the SGA and Cancer Kids First hoped to see a lot of students participate by wearing pajamas, and they were not disappointed. Walking the halls of McLean on Thursday, students were seen wearing everything from big t-shirts and sweatpants to sleeping masks and matching pajama sets.

“I chose to wear pajamas because it’s for a great cause, and I love being able to spread awareness and encourage others to do the same,” senior Emily Levison said.

McLean was not the only school in FCPS to hold this spirit day and see an outcome. Zhang worked alongside Principal Ellen Reilly to help spread the community spirit to McLean’s feeder schools. Haycock Elementary, Chesterbrook Elementary, Timberlane Elementary, Kent Gardens Elementary, and Longfellow Middle School students also showed up to school on Thursday in their pajamas.

“We serve as role models to the younger kids,” Zhang said. “Having them learn about and also participate in supporting childhood cancer patients is providing them with resources on how to approach service in the future.”

Pajama day is only the beginning of the McLean student body coming together, getting involved, and supporting our larger community.

“Through the Be A Good Neighbor Initiative, we have the power to bring light into others lives that need it the most,” Zhang said.