Young cancer patient to celebrate birthday by donating hundreds of toys to other patients

Cormac Bower remembers the most important parts of his time at American Family Children’s Hospital. Mainly, that memory involves a lot of hours with Daddy Hedgehog. That stuffed animal was with him through all the chemotherapy, the long inpatient stays and that time when the doctors were testing painful adhesives on his skin.

“I can hug him, and he’s really soft,” Cormac said.

The soon to be 7-year-old deserves a buddy to hug. Last January, Cormac was low-energy and fatigued. He complained about his back and legs hurting, and at one point, he was really pale.

The expert team at American Family Children’s Hospital did a blood test and bone biopsy, and determined Cormac had leukemia. He was in the hospital for about two weeks for that first stay.

“He got a transfusion that night, and the chemo and everything started the next day,” Cormac’s mom, Carrie Bower, said. ” I remember it was all kind of a big blur, you know. We went from kind of our little small family, and suddenly, we had all of these doctors and nurses and everybody. ”

Young cancer patient to celebrate birthday by donating hundreds of toys to other patients

What Carrie remembers most about her family’s time in the hospital are the moments Cormac had a smile on his face. That was typically associated with a toy of some sort. His favorite was Legos , but there were cars to ride around the hallways and a stuffed moose pillow that he tossed around with nurses.

“It’s just like these little things that I’ll always remember from moments of care we were given while we were there,” Carrie said.

Once her son was feeling a little better, Carrie wanted to find a way to help patients like Cormac . Knowing what made him happy in his time there, she thought back to something one of the nurses told her when the weather started getting warm last year.

“We just don’t have quite as many toys during the summer time ,” Carrie said. ” And that kind of planted the seed, I guess, in my head. I want there to be access to stuff to keep kids occupied, or stuff to distract kids whether they’re going through this stuff all year round. ”

Carrie created an Amazon wish list with toys for all ages, though the need is highest for toys appropriate for teens and babies.

She’s already collected around 700 donated toys.

“I think, it’s a gift for the child, and it’s a gift for the family too, so I hope that’s what it brings,” Carrie said.

The Bowers will deliver them to the hospital next month, just in time for Cormac’s birthday.

“We’re so happy we’re in a different place than we were a year ago, and we wanted to do something to sort of celebrate — celebrate how far we’ve come and give back to everybody who helped us,” Carrie said.

If you’d like to donate to the Refill the Toy Box effort, check out the Facebook event or purchase directly from the Amazon wish list.

Young cancer patient to celebrate birthday by donating hundreds of toys to other patients

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