• Christmas in July toy drive brings toys to patients at Wolfson Children's Hospital

    By: Kaitlyn Chana , Action News Jax


    Toys help children with life-threatening illnesses cope and stimulate their minds while encouraging developmental growth. Christmas in July at Wolfson Children’s Hospital allows them to make sure every child in the hospital has a toy.

    It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. When a child is in the hospital, play is an important part of the healing process. A toy is a critical building block in helping patients such as Paisley Speas thrive.

    Child life specialist Christy Sekenski said toys bring joy to the children's faces and also helps them grow developmentally.

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    “Play is how children learn. It’s how they cope, and it’s how they tell us the things we need to know if they’re not able to verbalize that,” Sekenski said.

    Paisley and her mother, Alison, have spent a year in hospital rooms. Through play, she’s learning, while overcoming complex medical procedures.

    “She has grown throughout the year and her toy needs have changed and it’s been helpful to have different types of toys that have come through,” Alison Speas said.

    The Christmas in July campaign helps to ensure there are enough toys and activities for patients, from infants to teens. A special closet full of gifts allows child life specialists to personalize gifts for these sick children in an effort to make their days better. 

    “It doesn’t matter how big or how small. Anything helps these kids out while they’re in the hospital,” Sekenski said.

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    To donate, go to ChristmasJuly.com and you can choose what toys the hospital will buy. Or, inside of any local Jersey Mike’s restaurant, you can drop off new kid-friendly toys in their donation box. The donation boxes will be collected from all local Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants on July 24.

    On July 25, Wolfson Children’s Hospital will be having a toy donation day at the hospital from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

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