Non-profit organization provides dress-up parties for seriously ill children

Help fill 'Chelsea's Closet'

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Photos courtesy of Amy Hansen With the help of Chelsea's Closet, children of all ages get a break from dealing with their serious illness and play dress-up. They also get to play games including cards, Sudoku and paddle ball and do activities including drawing and painting. Donations of new items are being collected through March 26 at several Camas locations.

A Camas High School student is leading a local campaign to collect donations to help an organization that works to brighten the days of children who are dealing with some of life’s most traumatic health crises.

CHS senior Samantha Hollinshead is organizing a costume, accessory, craft and game collection event to benefit the Chelsea Hicks Foundation and Chelsea’s Closet.

Chelsea’s Closet is a rolling dress up closet that provides monthly dress up parties for seriously ill children of all ages to “inspire hope and healing through dress up and play.”

“For some children, this is the only time they will be out of their room all day,” Hollinshead said in a press release.

Amy Hansen, a Camas resident, is involved with the Chelsea Hicks Foundation and is assisting Hollinshead with her project. Hansen has seen first-hand the impact Chelsea’s Closet makes on youth dealing with a variety of illnesses at facilities including Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and the Randall Children’s Hospital at Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

“The kids get to come and pick a costume and all of the accessories, which they keep,” Hansen said. “We have a parade and they [have] a little craft and snack party in the activity room. It’s a great time.”

Hollinshead said that while all donations of new items will be accepted, her efforts are focusing special attention on older children served by the organization.

“The goal of my senior project is to concentrate on increasing the donations of new accessories, costumes and activities suitable for teenagers in the hospitals,” she said. “Although people often associate dressing up with younger children, teenagers make up a large percentage of the children served by Chelsea’s Closet each month.”

Some examples of appropriate items for older children include hats, sports jerseys, feather boas, jewelry, and activities including cards, Sudoku and paddle ball. Because of infectious disease restrictions at the hospitals served by Chelsea’s Closet, only new items will be accepted.

Through March 26, collection boxes will be available at several Camas locations including Dairy Queen, 435 N.E. Third Ave.; Burgerville, 518 N.E. Third Ave.; QFC, 3505 S.E. 192nd Ave.; Liberty Theatre, 315 N.E. Fourth Ave.; Camas High School, 26900 S.E. 15th St.; and the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave.

For more information about Chelsea’s Closet, visit www.chel