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Santa’s sleigh bells will be ringing and children gleefully singing thanks to the second annual “Stuff the Sleigh of Katy” holiday toy drive benefiting pediatric cancer patients treated at the new Texas Children’s Hospital – West Campus and their siblings. Santa Claus will present the toys, collected in a giant Santa’s Sleigh on display at the Firethorne Visitor Center, to the west Houston-area children at a family holiday party at Firethorne. The community toy drive is accepting donations to purchase holiday gifts now through Tuesday, December 6. For more information, call 281-693-0003.

“Those interested in supporting ‘Stuff the Sleigh’ can stop by the Firethorne Community Center to select a ‘sleigh’ gift card that has one wish list item on it from a young cancer patient or their brother or sister,” says Garrett Ashmore, “Stuff the Sleigh” co-founder/coordinator. “Donors, whether individuals or companies, may purchase one or more of these gifts to fulfill that child’s holiday wish.”

Ashmore and his wife, Kelli, launched “Stuff the Sleigh of Katy” in 2010 to support young cancer patients and their families by helping ease their financial and emotional burdens during the holidays. “As the parents of two healthy children, we wanted to do something to help those who may be hospital-bound this holiday season and provide them with as joy-filled, meaningful and worry-free a Christmas holiday as possible,” says Ashmore.

Katy mother Meagan Henderson, whose 8-year-old Zach has been undergoing treatment for leukemia since age 3, expressed her heart-felt appreciation to “Stuff the Sleigh” for their 2012 donation to her family.

“If it wasn’t for your organization, I don’t know what kind of Christmas my kids would have had,” says Henderson. “With five kids and one of them being sick and diagnosed with cancer, it puts a strain on the entire family. Last year my son who has leukemia was in the hospital for Christmas undergoing more treatment, and when I brought him all of the wonderful gifts that were donated he was so happy. He cried and said to me ‘Mommy, this is the best Christmas EVER!’ I can’t thank you guys enough for everything that you did. My entire family finally saw some joy, in times when we had no hope.”

After purchasing toys for all the children on the list, “Stuff the Sleigh” organizers will apply any additional funds towards grocery gift cards or gas cards to the children’s families. For individuals and companies that would like to participate in the toy drive, donations may be made to “Stuff the Sleigh” C/O Voice Runner, Inc. 2501 S. Mason Rd., #260 Katy, TX 77450. All of the toys and monetary donations will go directly to benefit the children and their families.

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