Pajama Party raising money for Prince Albert families in need

Jodi Schellenberg
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They are raising money while having fun.

The third Ultimate Pajama Party will be held on Oct. 5 at the Exhibition Centre in Prince Albert.

“Basically what it is, is an affordable evening out for ladies only to raise money for local families and projects,” organizer Michelle McKeaveney said. “All of the moneys raised stays in our community.”

Each year the party is held, McKeaveney and her group have picked different benefactors and allocate the funds accordingly.

Last year, the event raised money for a couple different families in need, McKeaveney said. This year, they hope to help more families.

“What we have decided to do this year, we are raising money for families who have children or other members that have medical expenses for treatments out of town,” McKeaveney said.

In addition to helping out families with expenses, McKeaveney said there are also two other goals they have in mind this year.

“The second part of the fundraiser is to go for a medical assistance fund that people can come to us throughout the year and apply to it,” McKeaveney said. “We will meet as a group and allocate funds based on what we have in our account. We will be able to assist people throughout the year with medical expenses.”

The third part is very near and dear to McKeaveney’s heart.

“I am trying to continue on with Thyroid Eye Disease awareness,” McKeaveney said. “I’m trying to have an awareness campaign for physicians to ensure people don’t get misdiagnosed.”

McKeaveney was misdiagnosed herself and lost her eyesight temporarily because of the disease. After having to go to the Mayo Clinic for treatments to fix her eyes, McKeaveney doesn’t want the same thing to happen to anyone else.

“It is really important to me that nobody has to go through what I did,” McKeaveney said. “That is why it is important to me to continue that.”

The Pajama Party is a way to raise fund to support these causes, she said.

“The reason why it is fun is because women get to wear their pajamas,” McKeaveney said. “They should come because it is an affordable evening to raise money for charities and local projects.”

The event also gives McKeaveney a way to give back to the community.

“This is about me paying it forward and helping others who may have helped me in the past,” McKeaveney said. “It allows me to quietly thank all those people who reached out to us, to my family. I’m doing it because it is important to my heart.”

She believes if more people would pay it forward, the community would become stronger.

“If more of us took the opportunity to pay things forward, to smile at people, to shake hands, give hugs -- to do those types of things -- it would be a lot better,” McKeaveney said. “Our own community would be a lot better off and we can only start at home.”

The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and women can immediately start shopping at booths set up by local businesses.

“The whole premise when we started this was to create awareness for women and women in business and give them an opportunity to showcase what they are doing while we raise money for other things,” McKeaveney said.

As well as booths, there will also be a spa area, a medium, a card reader and a relaxation area to sit and have fun with other women.

“Then at 7:30 p.m. the fashion show begins,” McKeaveney said. “It is all local merchants again. We have really kept it local and down home.”

Some of the merchants involved in the fashion show are Era Maternity, Lux Clothing, One40Seven, Katie’s Kloset and Propaganda.

Following the fashion show will be an Unplugged and Acoustic Session, featuring McKeaveney, Sarah Pocha and other artists.

“This is the fun part for me,” McKeaveney said. “It is just us up there playing different songs and having a good time.”

The evening will continue at 11 p.m. with Body Heat, male exotic dancer act from Alberta.

“We do have the male dance group, they are partially sponsored by TNT Auto and Finance,” McKeaveney said.

She said the show will be a lot of fun for the older crowd, since those under 18 will not be allowed at the event past 11 p.m.

“I’m not sure what a male exotic act entails, but I don’t want (the minors) to see anything they shouldn’t,” McKeaveney explained.

As for those of age, if they are not comfortable with the act, they do not have to stay to watch it.

“We are not going to handcuff anybody,” McKeaveney said. “We want everybody to feel comfortable. It is structured so everyone can have fun. No one has to sit and watch the fashion show, no one has to sit and listen to the music. We want it to be friendly and interactive, where women can do whatever they want while there.”

Throughout the evening, appetizers will be provided by Kevin Tetz from Executive Chef and there will be a timed sale for Handbags for Hope at one point in the evening.

McKeaveney is grateful for the support she has received to put on the event this year.

“Everyone has come together and helped me pull it off this year,” McKeaveney said. “That is really important to me because I know personally what it is like to have to travel for treatments and having no support. The support from the community is overwhelming. Everyone is so amazingly positive about it and thinks it is a great idea. I want this event to be a lot of great energy while we raise some money for some great things.”

McKeaveney encourages women to buy tickets ahead of time because she cannot guarantee there will be any left that night. Tickets will be available at Era Maternity, Scentiments Floral, One40Seven, Lux Clothing and Propaganda.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Ultimate Pajama Party, Exhibition Centre Mayo Clinic TNT Auto

Geographic location: Alberta

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