Families of children being treated at Medical City Dallas got an early start to their Christmas on Wednesday as staff and volunteers helped set up a toy store right in the hospital.
Many of the families said they’ve been so focused on their child’s health they haven’t had much time to Christmas shop or prepare for the holidays.
Sarah Butcher shopped for her four daughters and her five-month-old son who’s recovering from his second open-heart surgery.
“The little girls are struggling a little bit, they cry at night and they just want their brother home for Christmas,” Butcher said. “It’s hard as a parent to let them know that’s not in the cards this year.”
But shopping for a few toys for everyone is taking at least one burden off parents.
“I can relate to these families because I’ve been one of these families,” said volunteer Karen Henderson.
Henderson’s son was once a patient at medical city during the holidays, which is why she spent her day wrapping toys for patient families.
“It is such a relief and I know because I went through this myself, having a child here during the holidays. It’s such a relief to know that other people care,” Henderson said.
It’s going to be their first Christmas home in a long time for Victoria Lopez, 17, and her family.
“Has been the best and worst year of my life,” Lopez said.
Lopez had a lung transplant that saved her life earlier this year and had to learn how to breathe again. She has cystic fibrosis and has been in an out of the hospital since she was 8-months-old.
“I can’t even think when was the last time we spent Christmas and New Year’s together at home,” said mom Griselda Morales-Lopez.
But when they finally come home, they’re coming with a wagon full of gifts.
“When we go home today, we’re actually going to put something under our tree,” Morales-Lopez said.
The teenager is thrilled to have a Christmas Day most people take for granted.
“It’s just going to be me, with my cousins, with my dog, at my grandma’s house ready to wake up and open presents -- that’s gonna be a first for me this year,” Lopez said.
Medical City Children’s has been able to help more than 60 families with gifts, all thanks to community donations.