CINCINNATI (AP) -- A Virginia teen told that her upcoming brain surgery would mean Christmas in a children's hospital wanted to make the season brighter for other patients spending their holiday there. She and her sisters set out to collect 500 toys and ended up with more than 4,000.
Savannah Day and her family plan to present coloring books, dolls, board games and other toys to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday, the day before her surgery.
The 14-year-old and her sisters, ages 6 and 17, decided to start collecting the toys almost immediately after finding out that Savannah would be in the hospital at Christmas, said their mother, Michelle Day.
They knew that they wouldn't have a typical Christmas this year, and neither would the other children at the hospital, Day said.
"This was something they were determined to do," she said.
Michelle Day said her daughters began their "Cheer 4 Savannah" toy drive in September, asking their cheerleading teams to help. But soon other groups, friends, family, community members and businesses in their Roanoke suburb of Troutville and around Virginia joined the effort. As word spread through news and social media, the family began receiving toys from people in Ohio, Kentucky, California and other states.
"It's been overwhelming for us but overwhelmingly positive," Michelle Day said Tuesday night. "We were just so surprised by the great response."
The toy drive has helped family members as they prepare for Savannah's surgery. She has a malformation in her brain that causes a buildup of spinal fluid that could lead to brain damage without surgery, Michelle Day said.
Hospital officials are very grateful for the teen's efforts, spokeswoman Danielle Jones said.
"We know that her donations are going to brighten the lives of our patients," Jones said.