Family Pays it Forward with Pajamas and Pancakes Event

The Welke family put on their PJs, turned up the griddle and opened their home to the community in Stayner, Ontario, to raise funds for POGO. The event was in honour of their daughter Gwendolyn who was five years cancer-free!

POGO helped us when Gwendolyn was diagnosed with an adrenal cortical carcinoma—they provided us with financial assistance when we had to travel to Toronto, and because of the POGO Satellite Clinic in Orillia (Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital), we were able to stay closer to home for some of her treatment. Without the Clinic and financial support, I don’t know how we would have made it through.

When we received the notice in the mail about Pajamas and Pancakes, I turned to my husband and said, “Why don’t we do a small event with our friends and family to raise money for other families going through treatment?”

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Our original goal was $1,000 and we thought even that was crazy, but things really took off. I sent print and Facebook invitations to our personal contacts and families who we met at the Orillia Clinic. When a local real estate agency heard about our event, they asked us if we wanted them to advertise for us, so we ended up opening it to the public. We offered coffee, juice, sausages, three pancakes and a topping bar full of whipped topping, chocolate chips and Skor pieces for a minimum donation of $5. We also had a silent auction with a good variety of items donated from friends and family with home businesses.

In the end, over 100 people came through the house, many who we had never met before, and we raised $3,000 for POGO families! I think it was impactful for our guests to meet parents and kids who have been through treatment and benefitted from POGO—they could see exactly where the money would be going.

Gwendolyn had an amazing time. Without fundraising like this, families would not receive the help they need during one of the most stressful times of their lives. It is important to give back. And who doesn’t like pancakes!?!

By Melissa Welke

Editor’s Note: This event took place in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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