Pajama Challenge Raises Enough to Forgive $1.3 Million in Medical Debt

Pajama Challenge Raises Enough to Forgive $1.3 Million in Medical Debt

See all the images on the Facebook Fundraiser Page
Bridge Conference Minister Kent Siladi and UCC General Minister and President Rev. John Dorhauer braved a lot of ribbing and ridicule last week by posting pictures of themselves in pajamas online - all in the name of a good cause. In the end, they raised $13,270 - enough to forgive $1.32 million in medical debt.

A total of 189 donors contributed to the challenge, on Facebook and through the Conference website.

"I am truly grateful to each one of you for your gifts, and for the difference we will make in the lives of those who are saddled with medical debt," Siladi said in a video he posted following the Pajama Challenge. 

The two denominational leaders invited people to make donations to the Conference's RIP Medical Debt initiative in order to vote on who had the best pajamas each of the four days (they added a fourth bonus day midway through the week). Their choices ranged from a duckie hoodie on Dorhauer to New York Yankees footies on Siladi.

The two also posted videos several times during the week, and in them they said they were trying to have some fun during what is a difficult time.

"What Kent and I are doing is playful, it's fun. We're trying to bring a little lightheartedness to this, to raise some money for a good cause," Dorhauer said. "I hope you've enjoyed this. I hope you've had a little fun with it, as we've tried to have a little fun ourselves, and to not take ourselves too seriously, while at the same time trying to do something that could make a big difference."

Siladi declined to declare a winner in the challenge, saying raising money was the goal. (Ongoing tallying, however, would seem to indicate that Siladi won the total voting.)

The idea for the contest came up after Siladi made a passing comment on Facebook about whether it was too early in the day to switch to pajamas, given that he is staying home anyway. Many friends and colleagues weighed in, including Dorhauer, and the pajama challenge was born.

Raising funds for the RIP Medical Debt Initiative is the first major justice initiative of the Southern New England Conference since it's formation in January. The deadline for the fundraiser has been moved to May 18, and churches and individuals are invited to send in contributions. Links and more information are on the RIP Medical Debt initiative webpage.


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Tiffany Vail

Tiffany Vail is the Director of Media & Communications for the Southern New England Conference.

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