St. Kilian promotes Zip With Us Inc.

Monday, March 16, 2020 - Updated: 8:29 am

Pittsburgh Catholic Staff Report

St. Kilian School recently held a charity drive to benefit Zip With Us Inc., a nonprofit company that makes and distributes “port shirts” to families with sick children. The school collected more than 375 shirts and more than $120 that will go toward supplies.

Angela Degnan, a St. Kilian School parent, began Zip With Us after her son, Thatcher — who started kindergarten at St. Kilian last fall — was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016.

“During that time, he was given a homemade ‘port shirt’ that became a cornerstone of his 3.5-year treatment journey,” she said. “It offered convenience to the medical staff who accessed his port, provided him security and dignity, and removed a tremendous amount of fear for a child so young. It was a staple of his countless trips to the hospital.

“Thatcher completed his treatments at the end of October 2019 and had his port removed right before Christmas. Our family started Zip With Us Inc. to supply zipper port shirts to kids across the country battling cancer and to provide them with the same gift that was bestowed upon our son,” Degnan said.

Thatcher’s siblings, Elle and Fionn, also attend the school. Degnan credits St. Kilian’s teachers, students and staff for being “encouraging, wonderful and compassionate during his transition from isolation to normalcy.”

She is grateful to Father Charles Bober, administrator of the parish grouping; Principal Kristen Schwalm; teachers Maura O’Brien and Corey Miller; and the student council for their kindness and support.

“They chose to take a moment from their lives to learn about the world of these patients, and they encouraged empathy and compassion for the hardships of strangers,” Degnan said.

For information on Zip With Us, go to www.ZipWithUs.org or e-mail Degnan at Angela@ZipWithUs.org.

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