MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The annual toy drive at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is now underway, and organizers hope to get over 7,000 toys.
Across the nation, toy drives may be impacted by past shipping delays, that remains to be seen at Joe DiMaggio’s drive, the event has only been running for a single day, regardless, a team of child life specialist work year round to make sure young patients feel special, particularly during holidays.READ MORE: SeaWorld Orlando Transfers 4 Manatee Calves To Ohio For Treatment
“We’re probably going to be here, inpatient and out for at least another 9 months,” Helen Schwartz said.
Schwartz’s son is SuperJake Strong, a 6 year old who’s battling a type of bone cancer. It’s tough for young patients to be in the hospital, particularly around holidays, but toys sometimes make it a little better.
“He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of 5 he was actually diagnosed by an incidental finding,” Schwartz explained.
To help Jake, staff at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital utilize the power of play to help them get through, even to prepare medical procedures. Toys often help that process along.
“Our Toy Drive actually supplies our toys for the entire year at Joe DiMaggio,” Paige Cos, a Child Life Specialist said.
While other drives may have seen a decline.READ MORE: 'Sick To My Stomach': Dollar Tree Fanatics Protest New $1.25 Prices
“So far so good, it’s going great, and we were non-stop, back-to-back donations,” Cos explained.
The team of Child Life Specialists at Joe DiMaggio put on the drive, but they say it’s not all about toys.
“There’s no place like home, but no one wants to be home for the holidays but here we believe that if the children have to be here holidays that there’s as much magic as possible,” Cos added.
The team helps to bring multiple forms of therapy and activities for kids, from pet, art, music, as well even video game.
“When I introduce myself to a patient, oh I’m Paige, I’m a child life specialist my role in the hospital is to be a friend and a teacher.”
She’s working to make Christmas filled with lots of presents as well as comfort.MORE NEWS: Add Over-The-Counter Medicine To List Of Growing Shortages
“This is a marathon not a sprint and when that’s the case your mental game is just as important as the physical,” Schwartz added.