Kids aren’t supposed to suffer at Christmas. For most people, hospitals are far from all the decorations, the get-togethers, the presents and fun of the holidays.
But Laurie and Brendon Bump want to bring a little joy to children in the hospital.
In August 2018, their 5-month-old son, Jonah, was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease called SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). It meant Jonah had no working immune system. That meant every virus or infection threatened his life.
Jonah’s only hope for health was a bone marrow transplant. It meant high doses of chemotherapy to kill his existing bone marrow, followed by a bone marrow transplant of healthy cells.
It was a tough road for a baby. Jonah stayed at Norton Children’s Hospital for 100 days, finally going home just before Christmas 2018. Life never looked quite the same.
Since that 100-day stay, the Bumps, who are members of Southeast Christian Church’s Indiana Campus, have never forgotten all the kids they met in the hospital.
“You never forget kids playing in the halls if they’re well enough,” Laurie said. “They ride tricycles and little bikes down hallways. We wanted to do something to bring happiness to a time that’s not always happy.”
Laurie saw generous donations of toys for kids in the hospital at Christmas, which were always a welcome addition to play areas. But she saw a need for pajamas.
“Kids live in their jammies at the hospital,” Laurie said. “They are warm and soft. A new pair of Batman or princess pajamas can make a hard day better.”
So, Laurie began Jonah’s Jammies. Her goal that first year was collecting 50 pairs of pajamas for kids battling cancer. She was overwhelmed when people donated 500 pairs of pajamas—enough for all the kids at Norton Children’s Hospital battling health issues.
Laurie even had enough left over to give away jammies throughout the year.
She folds and wraps each pair of pajamas with a message: “You are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. You are loved. Enjoy the jammies. Love, Jonah.”
Jonah is now 3 years old.
“Our prayer is that Jonah’s Jammies encourages kids and parents,” she said.
The message is for parents, too.
“We didn’t always feel strong or brave enough to face Jonah’s issues the next day,” Laurie added.
Last year, during COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions, Laurie braced herself for a smaller response. But again, people donated more than 500 pairs of pajamas, along with hundreds of blankets.
“God amazes me every year,” Laurie said. “Our prayer is that Jonah’s Jammies encourages kids and parents.”
To find drop-off locations for pajamas or to learn more, visit Jonah’s Jammies on Facebook.