HMS holds pajama day for a cause

Meredith George, Anna Grace McDonald and HMS Assistant Principal Jennifer Cofer celebrate a pajama day to raise money for Anna's Angels Jingle Bell Walk/Run for Arthritis team. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Meredith George, Anna Grace McDonald and HMS Assistant Principal Jennifer Cofer celebrate a pajama day to raise money for Anna’s Angels Jingle Bell Walk/Run for Arthritis team. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HELENA—The Helena Middle School community rallied behind one of their own, hosting a school-wide pajama day on Dec. 12 to raise money for a student’s Jingle Bell Walk/Run for Arthritis team.

For $1, HMS students and faculty were allowed to come to school dressed in their pajamas. The money raised throughout the day was donated to Anna’s Angels, the Jingle Bell Walk/Run team headed up by HMS eighth grader, Anna Grace McDonald.

McDonald said she and her mother, Denise, came up with the idea for the pajama day fundraiser after a successful hat day fundraiser they organized last year.

“It was easy, we just asked the principal,” McDonald said, noting students and teachers were “really excited” and supportive of the event, some even donated more than the $1 to wear pajamas.

“There’s one teacher who’s in full-on pajamas,” McDonald said with a laugh.

In just one day, the school raised $700 for the Anna’s Angels team. In total, Anna’s Angels has raised more than $3,000, all of which will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation for research to find a cure for the disease.

“We’ve been doing a lot of fundraising type events,” McDonald said, noting Anna’s Angels sold coffee, hot chocolate and snacks during the Dec. 6 Helena Christmas Parade and have held “tutu parties.”

“We make our own tutus for us to wear (during the Jingle Bell Walk/Run),” McDonald said.

The Jingle Bell Walk/Run will take place in Birmingham’s Railroad Park on Dec. 14. McDonald is the chosen honoree of this year’s event.

“(The honoree) is someone who really sticks out to us, is very involved in the community and is very involved in raising awareness,” Kayla Smeraglia, Arthritis Foundation development and services director said. “(Anna Grace) is somebody that I know will really try to make a difference in the community… she is just a fighter.”

The event will include food, music, a one kilometer run, a five kilometer run and a Santa chase for children eight and under, Smeraglia said.

Many participants choose to dress up for the event. Anna’s Angels will be decked out in hand-made tutus, McDonald said, adding she’s most looking forward to “seeing everyone’s reaction to seeing us all dressed up.”