Record number of toys delivered to Ronald McDonald House
Truckload of donations made in memory of boy killed in ATV accident
A family from Frontier, Sask., carried load after load of new toys into Ronald McDonald House today, calling it their new Christmas tradition.
Rhett and his older brother Blaine were badly injured after their ATV crashed near their farm in April 2015. Blaine died on the way to the hospital. Rhett broke his neck and sustained several injuries.
"This was our home away from home and this is what kept the glue still sticking as a family," said Marion.
Rhett is walking and skating again, and has made an "excellent" recovery, his mother said.
Part of the reason I do this is because I want my son to be proud of me.- Marion Sanford
To give back, Marion and her husband loaded their own pickup truck full of toys last Christmas, driving five hours to donate them to Ronald McDonald House.
This year, when friends and extended family members asked if they could help, the Sanfords' toy drive got a lot bigger. They teamed up with Innovation Credit Union, setting up donation boxes at 28 locations across the province and collecting more toys Saturday at the Walmart in Swift Current, Sask.
The donations included pajamas, housewares, makeup, diapers, bags, blankets, gift cards and outerwear.
The charity can only accept new items, because so many of the children staying there have weak immune systems.
"[Blaine] was always giving," Marion said. "He just made a big difference. Part of the reason I do this is because I want my son to be proud of me.
"He would be so excited to be part of this."
Running out of toys
Breaking into tears as Marion, her friends and volunteers carried in the donations, Ronald McDonald House CEO Tammy Forrester said this donation came as a relief.
Each child staying at Ronald McDonald House gets to choose a new toy before they check out and head home. Last year, the charity handed out close to 2,000 toys.
"About a month ago we started noticing that toy room donations were getting less and less," said Forrester.
"That same day we found this email about a toy drive going on in southwestern Saskatchewan."
She said the organization has never had this size of donation before.
"The loss of a child can create a lot of different feelings inside someone and I just can't believe how big their hearts are," said Forrester. "It's just an amazing impact on all of us."