Rachel Doran graduated from Staples High School in 2015. The Cornell University rising senior — a National Merit Commended Scholar, talented Players costume designer, and founder of “Rachel’s Rags,” a company that makes intricate cotton and fleece pajama tops and bottoms — died 3 years later, from complications of 2 very rare diseases.
Her family honored her memory by creating Rach’s Hope, a not-for-profit foundation that helps families weather the storm of critical illness, with lodging, meals and transportation. A Westport family is among those already helped in the tri-state region.
Rachel’s sister Ellie — now a Staples senior — keeps her memory alive at school. She started Rach’s Hope Club. Over 200 students have signed up to help.
Rachel Doran (right) and her sister Ellie.
Their first fundraising event is this Sunday (October 13, 3 to 6 p.m., Rothbard Ale + Larder restaurant). It’s a “Beatles Cocktail Hour,” with music by Tim Palmieri.
The club also runs social media for Rach’s Hope, and is helping plan the 2nd annual PJ Gala on February 29.
Rach’s Hope Club is not the only group keeping Rachel’s memory alive at Staples. On Tuesday, October 15 (4 p.m.), the girls varsity volleyball team dedicates its game to Rach’s Hope.
Of course, they’ll gladly accept donation to this great cause.
Rachel Doran’s death last summer — following a rare reaction to common medications — devastated many Westporters.
Her former classmates at Staples High School — where she had been a National Merit Commended Scholar, talented Players costume designer, and founder of her own pajama company — mourned the rising Cornell University senior.
So did Ellen Gang. Her design studio and camp offer after-school and summer classes in fashion and related skills for children, teenagers and young adults. For years, Rachel was a student there. She was a camp assistant. And she exhibited in Ellen’s annual fashion show.
Rachel Doran (left) shows off her portfolio.
So it’s fitting that this year’s event — set for Saturday, May 18 — will honor Rachel.
Even better: It’s a fundraiser for Rach’s Hope. That’s the charitable organization the Doran family set up, to assist families weather the storm when a child is critically ill.
There’s more: This year’s show will highlight Rachel’s creativity, by showcasing a collection of “Rach’s Rags.” That’s the pajama pant business she began when she was just 11. True to her character, she gave part of her earnings to charity.
But Ellen needs some of those creations to show off. She asks anyone who has Rachel’s Rags PJs can lend them to the show.
They’ll be returned — lovingly — afterward.
Just the way Rachel lived her life.
(If you have Rachel’s Rags PJs to lend, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To support the May 18 “Walk the Runway for Rach’s Hope” fashion show at 4 Sunnyside Lane in Westport, click here.)