Colton Helping Coltyn Pajama Style

Clearview Elementary Students Team Up to Help Patients at St. Louis Children's Hospital
Posted on 03/10/2021
Colton Helping Coltyn Pajama StyleTwo fourth-grade friends from Clearview Elementary are working together to make a difference.

Coltyn Straatmann and Colton King, both students in fourth grade at Clearview, are teaming up for a “Colton Helping Coltyn” event to help kids in need.

Coltyn Straatmann was diagnosed at five weeks old with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants. Symptoms of the disease appear or develop about two to eight weeks after birth.

Cells within the liver produce liquid called bile. Bile helps to digest fat. It also carries waste products from the liver to the intestines for removal from the body. This network of channels and ducts is called the biliary system. When the biliary system is working the way it should, it lets the bile drain from the liver into the intestines. When a baby has biliary atresia, bile flow from the liver to the gallbladder is blocked. This causes the bile to be trapped inside the liver, quickly causing damage and scarring of the liver cells (cirrhosis), and eventually liver failure.

The causes of biliary atresia are not completely understood. For some children, biliary atresia may occur because the bile ducts did not form properly during pregnancy. For other children with biliary atresia, the bile ducts may be damaged by the body's immune system in response to a viral infection acquired after birth.

Coltyn had a Kasai Procedure done at six weeks old. If the ducts are blocked, the Kasai Procedure is a way to surgically bypass them and prevent liver damage. It is often the preferred treatment for biliary atresia.

“Coltyn had many hospitalizations his first three years of life. We still have hospital stays, but not near the amount he had when he was under three years old,” said Kristin Straatmann, Coltyn’s mother. “Every time he was in the hospital, they sent us home with something; stuffed animal, toy, bubbles, etc.

“So far, Coltyn is still kasai only and does fairly well. He goes at minimum once a year for labs, ultrasound, and liver team checkup. His ultrasounds have shown progression, but nothing we are too worried about. You would never know Coltyn has liver disease by just looking at him. He is your typical go 1,000 miles an hour 9-year old boy.”

The Straatmann family has always been appreciative of the treatment Coltyn has received at St. Louis Children's Hospital over the years, and wanted to do something to give back. They came up with an idea called, “Coltyn’s Pajama Party.”

“We started Coltyn's Pajama Party in 2013. We wanted to give back to St. Louis Children’s Hospital in some way,” said Kristin. “So, we thought, ‘Who does not love a new pair of pajamas to brighten their day?’”

The Straatmann family collect pajamas all year long as well as monetary donations to purchase the pajamas. Over the past eight years, they have collected 2,446 pairs of pajamas, which are then given to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

“That would not have happened if we did not have the support of family, friends, and community,” Kristin said. “Coltyn was only two years old at the time we started this, but has grown to really love giving back. He always tells me this is his most favorite trip to St. Louis Children’s Hospital because he is giving to the kids who are in the hospital and he does not have to have any test, procedure, or see a doctor.”

The Straatmann family has a P.O. Box where packages or donations can be sent. The address is Coltyn’s Pajama Party, P.O. Box 56, Union, MO 63084. They also have a Coltyn’s Pajama Party Facebook page, where you can find an Amazon Wish List. A drop-off bin is located outside of Clearview Elementary’s front door for anyone who would like to donate.

Seeing what Coltyn Straatmann and his family have done to help others, fellow Clearview fourth grade student Colton King and his family wanted to help.

“Every year, our family donates to organizations such as St. Jude’s and Make-A-Wish. This year, we wanted to get the boys more involved in giving back and doing good things to help others,” said Tara King, Colton’s mother. “We knew simply writing a check wasn’t going to be enough to help the boys understand what we were truly trying to do. We wanted to make a difference somewhere, no matter how big or how small. Our family is truly blessed and we want to be a blessing to others.”

Colton and the King family created a Facebook event called, “Colton Helping Coltyn! Pajama Style!” Information can be found there on how to make donations to help Coltyn’s Pajama Party.

To date, Colton and the King family have received approximately $175 and 24 pairs of pajamas from people in six states; Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“We discussed many different ways our family could impact the lives of others. We focused mainly on ways to help children, and then narrowed it down to people we personally know,” Tara said. “Coltyn’s Pajama Party remained at the top of our list. We could help a boy in our community, a child in our school, and most importantly, we could help a friend. We are honored to be working to help raise awareness of such a rare disease and help our friends reach goals.”

Coltyn and Colton are determined to continue their quest for donations to help other children.

Colton Helping Coltyn
Clearview Elementary fourth-grade students Coltyn Straatmann, left, and Colton King are teaming up to help supply pajamas to patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Colton Helping Coltyn
Colton Helping Coltyn
Colton Helping Coltyn
Colton Helping Coltyn
Colton Helping Coltyn
Colton Helping Coltyn
Colton Helping Coltyn
Colton Helping Coltyn