Mother of three, Wendy Berezovsky, founded a nonprofit organization called Sweet Dreams for Kids, which collects pajamas to donate to children in hospitals. She started the program after having her own daughter in the hospital for cancer treatments.
1. Tell us about your program: what do you do and why did you start it?
Sweet Dreams for Kids is a nonprofit organization that donates new pajamas to children in the hospital. We have donated over 3,000 pairs nationwide. Our dream is to have every children’s hospital filled with cute, cozy, and comfortable pajamas instead of the hospital ones.
We started Sweet Dreams for Kids because of my youngest child, Chaya Dalya. She was born with cancer and is a walking miracle. We wanted to do something to give back and help bring smiles to kids in the hospital. We want to show people how good it feels to do for others. We want to take the “ICK” out of being “SICK.”
2. Have you ever gotten donations of something that wasn’t pajamas that surprised you?
Besides pajamas, we have received robes and slippers, but that is really it. People that donate seem to know what we are about. We did have someone offer to help finance the attorney fees to set up our organization as a nonprofit. This was such an amazing thing that I would have never expected.
3. What are the most popular PJs these days?
The kids love anything cuddly, bright, and soft. They love the pajamas with the fun characters from the shows/movies that they watch. Sports-themed are popular with the boys as the princess-themed are popular for the girls. I believe anything that reminds them of home helps them feel like a regular kid, and not a sick one.
4. Why PJs and not toys?
I think toys are a much more common thing to think of. I really wanted to do something different. I did a lot of thinking when my Chaya Dalya was in the hospital, and realized what an impact the hospital pajamas had on me. Every time I looked at my daughter, those pajamas were the constant reminder that she was sick. Pajamas are such a personal thing, and kids in the hospital should be able to pick out their own pajamas just like they would if they were at home.
5. When your daughter was sick, what was the most meaningful thing that a stranger did for her and your family?
There are a few things.
The most meaningful thing was not from a stranger, but from my wonderful mom. She dropped her life to help us. She stayed with our other kids, Reuven (3 years old at the time) and Eliana (18 months old at the time), so they would have the comfort of their Bawbee at home. Chaya Dalya was never left alone at the hospital and we always made sure that everyone got the love they needed. My husband and I were able to take turns coming home to see Reuven and Eliana. We knew the times when we were both at the hospital, Reuven and Eliana were getting the love, attention, and care they deserved. With our lives being turned upside down, my mom, is the one that saved us. Her positive attitude, love, concern, and strong belief in Hashem (God) was a true gift to all of us.
Another meaningful thing was from a doctor that knew Chaya Dalya and our family well. I was pushing Chaya Dalya in the stroller with Reuven and Eliana on each side of me, rushing out of the parking ramp to get to a doctor’s appointment. The weather was miserable, cold, and rainy. As we were just about to cross the street, a car stopped, a man got out and offered me his umbrella. I could not believe this nice familiar face was one of Chaya Dalya’s anesthesiologists. I will never forget how this doctor showed us what a big heart he has.
Another meaningful thing that amazes me is the praying that was done for our Chaya Dalya. People opened their hearts to her, without knowing her, and wanted to pray for her. With our strong belief in Hashem, I know that all the good prayers for her helped her to become the little walking miracle she is today. I always say “to meet her is to love her.”