FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Three Carroll High school students are bringing smiles to pediatric patients at Lutheran Hospital. They threw a toy drive Saturday in hopes of brightening their stays with fun gifts.
Seniors Cassie Pontius, Emily Jovevski and Caroline Chastain held the drive at the Ash Centre.
“It’s a way for the community to come around the kids at Lutheran and just say we support you and we love you and we’re going to be fighting right next to you, alongside you as you go through something like this,” Pontius said.
Pontius threw her first toy drive in 2014 in honor of Jovenski, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
“As I was talking to her about her time during treatment in the hospital, one of the things she mentioned was how heartbreaking it was to watch the younger kids not understand why they couldn’t go outside and play,” Pontius explained. “These young kids are just carrying these huge burdens and that just really tugged on my heart.”
The Carroll students decided to throw another toy drive today. They asked teenagers in the community to bring a toy and stay for some games such as tug-of-war.
They were also asked to donate to Energized for Ebony, a pediatric cancer foundation that provides diagnosis kits and monthly activity bags for young cancer patients. Ebony was a nine-year-old girl who died from cancer in 2014, but wanted other kids to keep smiling and making memories.
“So many helped us when Ebony was battling that we are blessed to be able to take their money and pay it forward to the same kids like my daughter,” said Ebony’s mother, Beth Ann Fawcett.
Retired Mad Ants basketball player Ron Howard and his wife Reesha Howard helped the Carroll students put together the toy drive. It was actually a toy drive that the couple held four years ago that inspired the students to start doing the same.
“I’m just really touched that other people were inspired by my mission as I was,” Pontius said. “It’s really cool watching all these kids come together and just be able to support a common cause.”
More than 100 toys were donated to the drive.