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TODAY news for Thursday, December 15, 2005

Loma Linda University Children's Hospital news

Victorville Girl Scout donates toys to Children’s Hospital

Alisha Leon�s family came with her to help deliver all the toys she collected for her Girl Scout�s Gold Award project.
Alisha Leon’s family came with her to help deliver all the toys she collected for her Girl Scout’s Gold Award project.
Alisha Leon knows about heart disease. Born with congenital heart disease at Loma Linda University Medical Center in 1987, Ms. Leon has been receiving treatment from the Medical Center and Children’s Hospital ever since. And on Monday, December 5, the 18-year-old Girl Scout gave back to Children’s Hospital in a big way.

Ms. Leon donated nearly $5,000 worth of toys, stuffed animals, books, and blankets to the patients at Children’s Hospital to complete a Girl Scout project that was very close to her heart. The donation was the culmination of nearly 6 months of work on Ms. Leon’s part to finish her gold award from the Girl Scouts, a distinction earned by only 6 percent of the nation’s Girl Scouts.

“I wanted to give something back to the hospital,” says Ms. Leo
Tristan Cruz eagerly picks out a stuffed animal from the many that Ms. Leon brought with her.
Tristan Cruz eagerly picks out a stuffed animal from the many that Ms. Leon brought with her.
n about her project, which she calls Toys For Hearts. “I had a stuffed puppy when I was going to all my doctor visits. I wanted to give a stuffed toy to every child in the heart ward so they could have that support too.”

The project began in June, after her idea for her gold award passed with the Girl Scouts council approval. As part of the project she has put together workshops to educate people in the High Desert about heart disease as well as held a toy drive. Her planning paid off in that she surpassed her goal of a toy for every patient in the heart ward, and was actually able to provide a toy for each patient in Children’s Hospital.

Ms. Leon collaborated with her younger sister, Alyssa, 9, also a Girl Scout, who is working on her bronze award. Alyssa hand-made a card for each
Ms. Leon and her father, Stewart, finally empty out the U-Haul van of toys after three trips of overflowing bins, gurneys, and wagon loads to the Children�s Hospital playrooms.
Ms. Leon and her father, Stewart, finally empty out the U-Haul van of toys after three trips of overflowing bins, gurneys, and wagon loads to the Children’s Hospital playrooms.
of the gifts given out.

On her Monday visit to Children’s Hospital, Ms. Leon visited with patients on the cardiac intensive care unit, the pediatrics dialysis unit, and the pediatrics observation unit, handing out blankets and stuffed animals one by one to each patient.

Love Espinoza, a 6 year old on the cardiac ICU, never said a word to Ms. Leon after she gave her a pink unicorn. But the smile on Love’s face told more than words ever could about how happy Ms. Leon’s brief visit made her. Seeing the little girl clench the stuffed animal tightly brought memories back to Ms. Leon of her own stuffed puppy she used to squeeze while at Children’s Hospital.

“Seeing the children smile makes it all worthwhile,” says Ms. Leon. After visiting the three units, she and her family delivered the remaining toys to the playrooms for the child life department to hand out later. Child life specialist Dorothy Brooks thanked Ms. Leon for all the toys, which nearly overflowed in the cardiac ICU.

“I didn’t do this by myself,” Ms. Leon insisted. “Everybody in the High Desert helped me so much and I have them to thank.”

Ms. Leon’s toy drive benefited from the donations of many organizations, including the students at Lomitas Elementary School, who contributed hundreds of stuffed animals, which ensured that every child at  Children’s Hospital would receive a gift.
Alisha Leon collected nearly $5,000 worth of toys, stuffed animals, books, and blankets to give out to the patients at Loma Linda University Children�s Hospital.
Alisha Leon collected nearly $5,000 worth of toys, stuffed animals, books, and blankets to give out to the patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.

TODAY news for Thursday, December 15, 2005