Julie Helner wanted to find a way to honor her mother, a Bryn Mawr Hospital nurse of 30 years who died in 2019, writes Matteo Iadonisi for 6abc.
“My mom loved the holidays. She literally would start shopping for Christmas in like January every year and we would have piles upon piles of presents,” said Helner.
She decided to donate toys to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. So in 2020, Helner reached out to her Media Borough community and created the Jeanne Helner Memorial Gift Drive.
They raised about $3,000 that first year. This year, she’s doubled that, with $6,000 for toys.
Sixth-grader Cooper Savoy was one of the toy recipients this year. He’s been a patient at St. Christopher’s on and off since infancy, coping with Waardenburg Syndrome.
“I want the donors to know that we really appreciate the stuff that you gave us,” he said. “And one day, I’ll pay it all in return and do something for you.”
Helner appreciates those moments.
“It really kind of helps me get through the season and bring some joy back to a time that’s really hard for me and my family,” said Helner.
Read more about Julie Helner’s toy drive at 6abc.