PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The holidays are being made brighter for children who are hospitalized thanks to a toy drive inspired by a little girl who’s being treated for cancer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The effort has gotten much bigger than anyone ever expected.
The convoy of toys arrived at Children’s Hospital on Monday with a police escort.
Leading the special delivery, 4-year-old Jillian Massey, who has brain and spine cancer.
“We’re so happy to have her home for the holidays,” said her mother, Janelle. “So this is the best Christmas blessing you could’ve ever gotten.”
After being hospitalized for six months of chemotherapy, Jillian was released but wondered: what about all the kids who couldn’t go home for the holidays?
A group from Ryan Homes, where Janelle works, helped put together the Sassy Massey toy drive; that’s Jillian’s nick name.
“It’s amazing to just see the turnout and how many people have supported this cause,” said Jillian’s dad, Jim. “I just can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done and what they going to be doing for the kids at CHOP.”
The CHOP toy delivery convoy started at the Ridley Township police station and a miniature BMW car that was given to Jillian as a gift from the officers.
Decked out in her Christmas finest, Jillian thanked the officers with high fives and got busy tasting the snacks.
The goal had been to collect maybe a hundred toys, but once word got out about Sassy Massey, the donations poured in.
“We’re all so fortunate and just to be able to do something like this for other people, it really means a lot,” said Jessica Wold, who works at Ryan Homes. “It’s exciting and she’s been through so much and that we could do this for her, I don’t even have words.”
The spirit of the season is all about giving and sharing some love with a sassy little girl in the fight of her life.
“She is such a little fighter and she’s amazing,” said Rebecca Rector with CHOP. “These toys are going to provide so many smiles for kids here and it means so much to all of the patients and families that will be here for the holidays.”
When asked about CHOP, Jillian doesn’t talk about a hospital, she says that’s the place she goes to play and she wanted to make sure her friends there had plenty of gifts for the holidays.