Monday, November 25, 2013

Hayden's toy drive

It is again that wonderful time of year.

The weather has turned colder. The magic of Christmas fills the air. The season of hope and giving and concern for our fellow man again returns. The needs of others are sought out.

I love the peace and joy and goodwill that is in the air.

And with the feelings of generosity, love and giving again return to the hearts of the community.

Hayden's Toy Drive is in full swing.

We are collecting new and unused toys for the hospital.

If your heart feels the tug and you would like to donate, please contact Jerlyn, Thomas or Hayden or one of numerous others and we will drop off your donations at the children's hospital.

Let's get ready to make this a beautiful and special Christmas for the children and their worried parents in the children's hospital. Together, we can make a difference.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Delivering the toys to PCH - 2011

This was my favorite year EVER delivering toys to PCH. We were so lucky and received permission for our kids to hand out toys to the kids that were sick. What an amazing experience. There are not words to describe what an incredible day that was.
Brooklyn gave coloring book, crayons and a stuffed animal to this little girl that was hooked up to a dialysis machine. She wouldn't talk, but was all smiles. The feelings I felt were so intense that I had to struggle to hold back tears of joy and gratitude.
Hayden was able to deliver toys to Leo, his new dialysis buddy. Leo was all smiles as Hayden tried to talk to him. He was in heaven that another boy would work so hard all year to collect toys for him and the other kids. I fell in love with Leo and oh how I would love to go sit with him and read or play with him. He was such a cutie.
Even Austin loved Leo. I loved watching the tenderness come out of Hayden for Leo. He sincerely asked Leo how he was, what he liked, what he asked Santa for and took a real interest in how Leo was handling his hospital stay. Hayden has a touch with these kids. Probably because he has spent so much time with doctors and hospitals, he understands. I was so proud of him.
After we delivered toys, Ashley took the time to talk to Hayden, Brooklyn and Brinley about these kids. The kids we gave toys to have to come to the hospital every other day for 4 hours to have their blood cleaned. Hayden's face says it all, his jaw dropped and said that he needed to collect more toys so Leo and his friends wouldn't be bored.
We were also able to tour the hospital, we were treated like celebrities and taken all over to see the ins and outs of how Child Life and PCH Foundation pull off Christmas for the kids. While there, Willy Bloomquist from the Arizona Diamondbacks was handing out Kindle fires, Nintendo DS consoles and Leapsters. The staff went up to Willy and explained to him that Hayden ran Hayden's Toy Drive and has collected over 12,000 toys for the kids in the hospital and over 2,000 this year. Willy told Hayden what a great thing he was doing and how wonderful he was. He told Hayden thanks for helping him out and making his job easier. Hayden loved every minute he spent with Willy.
Willy with Hayden and Austin. He was so, so good talking to them about being generous and taking care of others. I think he made a lasting impression on Hayden. Hayden felt so good about himself and the work that he does to raise toys and money for the kids in the hospital. It was so special.
I had an incredible day. I almost felt like I had my own, "It's a Wonderful Life" experience. The Lord allowed me to see the difference that we are making. He allowed me to see what others say about me and what they think about me. He showed me that in my own small way, that I do make a difference in life. I will be forever grateful for this day and the lessons that I learned. I felt as if the Lord gave me a huge hug. What a feeling! What a high! What an awesome experience.

Hayden's Toy Drive 2011

After all the toys were boxed, counted and loaded, Hayden's Toy Drive with the help of Austin's Eagle Project collected 2032 toys in all. We need this extra long trailer and the truck was full inside. Josh, Steph, Austin and Brinley came and picked up me, Hayden and Brooklyn and we were off to deliver the toys to Phoenix Children's Hospital!
Cute kiddos watched a movie on the way.
Here we are with Casey from PCH. She is heading up our next endeavor which is a toy closet year round.
Hayden and Austin were treated like kings for their great work. They loved every minute of it.

Lindsay from Child Life joined us. She is amazing. I love her spirit and enthusiasm. It is contagious.
Hayden and Brooklyn worked their tails off carrying bags and boxes that were very heavy.
Hayden was all smiles while dropping off the toys. He really gets how important this is to the sick children and delights in each box that brings smiles and hope to other children. He really has caught the incredible spirit of the toy drive.
It took quite a while to unload and we filled an entire pod this year. We certainly had some neat toys.
These two were all smiles because of their hard work. Hayden looked at me and said, "Mom, I love when I feel the Holy Ghost so strongly that it feels like my heart will beat right out of my chest. This is the happiest happy feeling ever."
Me and the cute kiddos that made this all possible!
We all definitely had a great time unloading and playing with the child life sponsors. They loved Ashley's "Got Toys" shirt. I think we all need to get those.
Hayden and I with the head of fundraising for PCH. He wanted to personally come meet us and the boy that was responsible for collecting so many toys. I was very touched.
This is a small glimpse at the toys that we helped to collect. It was definitely a merry Christmas for the children in the hospital.
My sincere thanks goes out to all those that donated time, money and toys for the hospital. Hayden's Toy Drive could not work if it were not for the donations of so many kind and wonderful people. We are lucky to be apart of this great work.

Hayden was so happy with the success of this year's annual Hayden's Toy Drive. We collected well over 2000 toys for the hospital. Hayden has loved every minute of this toy drive. Each year he dives in and is responsible for more and more of the work.

He has helped come up with new ideas, his abilities to speak to people about the toy drive has improved and he is so excited for some upcoming ideas and things we are putting in place to help the toy drive even be more successful this next year.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hayden's Summer Toy Drive Carnival

July 23rd is the big day. We are holding a carnival to benefit Hayden's Toy Drive. We are working on getting bouncers, face paining, snow cones and all the fun events of carnival together. Liberty Arts Academy, Hayden's school, is putting this on. Free admission when you bring in a toy to be donated to Phoenix Children's Hospital. We are currently working out the details but are so excited for this new opportunity.

Keep checking back for more information and updates.

July 23rd 10-2
Liberty Arts Academy
On Power Rd just South of Guadalupe
Bring a toy to donate to the hospital and come check out all the fun games!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My favorite part about the toy drive is the honest, open talks that Hayden and I have after we drop off the toys. It makes it all worth it. This year, as we talked to Hayden, he was able to really express how he was feeling. He has such a caring, big heart. Before I asked, Hayden spoke up and said, "Mom, I feel so good inside. The Holy Ghost is telling me that we are doing a good thing. I know that I am helping kids by collecting toys. When I am in the hospital, I will work harder to get well, if I know that I can choose from the toy closet. I hope that because of these toys, some of the kids in the hospital will choose to try harder to get well. Then, it will be such a good thing that we did the toy drive. I think we should keep doing the toy drive."

My heart was touched. My son was able to express, without help, the feelings that most definitely did come from the Holy Ghost. As we started the toy drive, it was to, in a small way, pay back all those that had helped out with Hayden. Each year, as we drop off the toys, I realize that although, our hearts are in it for the children that are in the hospital and their parents, in the end, our family is ultimately the one that benefits from the toy drive. Our home has the spirit of giving, Hayden is learning the importance of service and giving and right before Christmas, the Holy Ghost and Spirit of Christmas is alive in our hearts.

Our testimonies are strengthened. Our hearts are filled with love and gratitude. I am so thankful for this wonderful opportunity that we have been presented with. We are so very blessed. And, by the way, this is the first year that Hayden has not received a toy from Hayden's Toy Drive... it was his first year without any hospital stays... words cannot express my gratitude.

Hayden's Toy Drive Drop Off

Suzi, Thomas, Hayden and I all drove out to Phoenix Children's Hospital on December 23rd. It is such a great feeling to drop off the toys. It is so worth it but it does take a tremendous amount of time and work. I will admit that on different days during December I question my sanity and if the toy drive is worth it. When we drop off the toys, there is no doubt in my mind that this is such a great thing for our family.
As we talked with the volunteers at Child Life, we thanked them for the difference they make each day in the life of the children in the hospital. I am so grateful for all they have done for Hayden. Each hospital stay, ER visit and procedure undergone, has been so much easier due to the wonderful, caring and loving staff of PCH. I am so grateful for the little things they do to make the hospital as comforting and less scary as possible. It makes all the difference. I am glad that we can have a small part in paying them back.
As I stood back at the pods, I remembered so many stories that people told, why they donated, why they cared and the difference it made. I realized, standing there, that it isn't about the big stuff, it was the little things, the toy, the smile, the kind pat on the back, it is the little touches that make the biggest difference in these children's lives. As I stood there, I looked at my son and husband and realized that it is the little things in our lives that make the biggest difference, and the hospital definitely has made some of Hayden's health issues more bearable and put such a positive influence in our lives.

Hayden loves the attention. He loves that they ask him about his stays in the hospital, the little things that mean the most to him, and why he wants to help other children. As I watched him speak, I was so impressed. He is becoming so good at articulating his words and explaining why we do this. He understands that he is making a difference. And, he loves the way it makes him feel.
Thanks to all for another very successful toy drive. I am looking forward to hearing the stories about the children that received the toys and the difference it made to them. We are always blessed to get to hear the good. Especially for Hayden's sake, I am very grateful.

2010 Generous supporters

Hayden's Toy Drive 2010 was very successful. We collected over 2300 toys for Phoenix Children's Hospital. With all of the amazing toys that were donated, we had to rent a U-haul to get all the toys to PCH.
Donations were plentiful and wonderful. We had some of the same people donate and some new ones. We are so thankful to the following organizations that helped so much. Liberty Arts Academy did an entire school toy drive and collected amazing toys with amazing spirit and stories. I cannot express my thanks enough for Hayden attending such a wonderful and caring school. Peoria Accelerated Academy called a couple of days prior and said they had a lot of toys and then Hayden's principal, Ms. Waisel, was AMAZING and drove to Peoria to pick up the toys for me. My cousin, Debbie, organized a toy drive at Advanced Chiropractic in Gilbert. Then we had some amazing and generous donations from individuals.... I would list them but not sure if they want to be individually named. But, we know who you are and are very grateful.

Some of the most touching stories came in this year. Hayden's primary teacher collected money so that toys could be purchased. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins all donated generously. We are so thankful for the amazing support we have in trying to provide toys for the children in the hospital. It could not be possible without tremendous donations and the generosity of our loved ones. You are appreciated more than you will ever know.