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"They say heroes come in various forms, and the story of my hero, Joshua Allen Spotwood Smith, breaks the mold."


Our Story

Born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I first met Joshua at a sporting event where his infectious excitement was impossible to miss. Despite facing significant challenges—his speech was slow and slurred, and he relied on a wheelchair—Joshua's unwavering spirit made him the most spirited fan in the stadium.

Joshua was born with A-T (Ataxia-Telangiectasia), an exceptionally rare and incurable disease that affects one in 40,000 to 100,000 people worldwide, brutally targeting his nervous and immune systems. Despite battling countless days in the hospital, Joshua's health continued to decline.


On Thanksgiving Day in 2006, he was rushed to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital for the final time, reliant on life support. Witnessing my hero in that vulnerable state left me feeling helpless, but it was what Joshua's mother, Nicole, said in the ICU that changed my life.

Nicole made a simple yet heartfelt wish for her son: that he wouldn't have to spend his final days in a hospital gown but could instead enjoy them the way he loved most—cheering on his favorite sports teams. Inspired by Joshua's spirit, I took action. I transformed an Eagles jersey into a hospital gown and returned to the hospital, bringing immense joy to Joshua and his family.


This experience motivated me to create PLAYGOWNS, an initiative dedicated to bringing similar joy to millions of children worldwide during their hospital stays, offering them comfort and cheer in the form of personalized gowns. 

- Founder of PLAYGOWNS, Pete Hayden

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