ST PETERSBURG (CBSMiami) – Michelina Damianakis isn’t a patient at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg but she knows it well.
“Well, Michelina was a patient here since she as six months old. She’s been coming for treatments and in 2014 she had a surgery,” said Michelina’s mother Lisa.
“I remember when I was here I had so much fun. All the people took care of me were very very nice,” said Michelina.
She was just 8 then, cooped up and bummed out near her birthday until the staff gave her a surprise.
“They actually presented her with some toys, and it made her smile,” said Lisa Damianakis.
“Which led to an idea,” said Michelina, “which led to this.”
Hundreds of gifts for the kids who will spend Christmas here.
“My favorite part is delivering the toys,” said Michelina.
So where do the toys come from? Some are donated, others Michelina buys using money made from fundraisers and flip-flops.
Michelina calls them Floppies – festive flip-flops she decorates herself
“We all work the glue gun,” said her mom.
“It makes me feel happy. Someone has a pair of Floppies, and I’m like ‘Oh goody another toy for another kid in need’,” said Michelina.
Michelina added that Christmas at the hospital may not be anyone’s first choice, but getting a gift from a kid who understands that feeling may offer a little bit of cheer.