Brianna, wearing a Santa hat, arrives to Starlight’s office carrying two large bags of toys. She’s shy at first and hides slightly behind her mom, Vanessa. They have just made the two-hour drive from Rancho Cucamonga and their trunk is filled with hundreds of donated toys. This duo has been hard at work for the past week making sure they can bring smiles to hospitalized children.
Vanessa is a DIY, crafty mom who currently homeschools Brianna. One day, as Vanessa was making ornaments, Brianna had a brilliant idea.
“Mom, do you think people would want to buy my art?”
“Absolutely, but why do you need the money?” said Vanessa.
“So we can buy toys for other kids.”
That’s how it all began, just two and half weeks before Christmas.
Brianna began to make all different types of art using glitter, stickers and sequins. Vanessa set up a GoFundMe to spread the word, and quickly family and friends began to donate.
As donations began to roll in, they still weren’t sure where the toys would be going. Then, Vanessa remembered Starlight.
The entire Saucedo family, including Brianna’s father and two brothers attended Starlight’s Dream Halloween event in Los Angeles this year. Dream Halloween, supported in part by Los Angeles area hospitals, is a family-friendly event that provides complimentary passes to hundreds of kids and families.
Vanessa said her family had a wonderful time and wanted to continue to brighten the lives of seriously ill children by donating the toys to Starlight.
After raising nearly $300, Vanessa and Brianna had a one-of-a-kind shopping spree. They spent an entire day filling up carts and baskets with fantastic toys for kids of all ages.
“My favorite part was going shopping for all the toys,” said Brianna.
As Brianna was taking out the toys to show the Starlight staff, she was smiling from ear-to-ear. Her generosity to give back has inspired all of us this holiday season.
“Growing up, I was always told that giving presents was even better than receiving them,” said Chris Helfrich, Starlight CEO. “It warms my heart to know that there are young people like Brianna who are working hard to brighten the holidays for kids that might need an extra ‘pick-me-up’. Brianna is a Starlight hero.”
Starlight has delivered the toys to multiple Los Angeles area hospitals just in time for the holidays!
If you would like to help brighten the lives of seriously ill children, you can donate today. Your gift combined with the gift of others helps turn pain, fear and stress into laughter, fun and joy – because a sick kid is still a kid at heart.