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Colleen Leonardo delivers truck full of toys to SickKids hospital to honour sister

Three years after losing her identical twin sister to a rare cancer, Colleen Leonardo celebrated their birthday by delivering a transport truck filled with toys to SickKids hospital.

'I just want to make other kids smile,' woman says of annual birthday toy drive

Colleen Leonardo's annual toy drive for SickKids hospital honours her late identical twin sister who died of cancer. 2:06

Three years after losing her identical twin sister to a rare cancer, Colleen Leonardo celebrated their birthday by delivering a transport truck filled with toys to SickKids hospital.

"I just want to make other kids smile, because cancer is so hard on kids and I just remember my sister … the little things made her happy," Leonardo said.

Every year on their birthday, Colleen Leonardo celebrates her late identical sister, Heather, by running a toy drive for SickKids hospital. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)
Her sister, Heather, died at the age of 19 after a 10-month battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma — a rare cancer of the bone and muscle that mostly affects young children.

Every year since, Colleen has done a toy drive in Heather's honour. And each year, she's collected more and more toys from family, friends and people who learned about the campaign online.

Colleen said the work of collecting the toys, as well as the happy delivery, keeps her going on a day that will always be hard for her.

"Nineteen years with someone and then not having that person beside you to help you blow out your candles is always going to be tough," she said.

SickKids officials say all of the toys will go to children who have cancer, including some who are celebrating their birthdays in hospital.

And every gift comes with a sticker that says "In honour of Heather."

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