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Toy Drive for Audrianna’s Wish Continues

GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER -- A special delivery was made to Janet Weis Children's Hospital Thursday afternoon: lots and lots of toys.

The massive toy drive was started six years ago by a young girl from Hazleton before she lost her life to cancer.

It took a moving truck to deliver all of these toys to Janet Weis Children's Hospital near Danville. Boxes were filled to the top with toys.

The drive was organized by Angela Bartol of Hazleton. She and her family are very familiar with Geisinger Medical Center.

"When you're here at Christmastime, it gets lonely. It gets hard to save any money to buy presents for your kids," said Bartol.

Bartol's daughter Audrianna was a patient off and on for almost five years. She passed away in 2013 from neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer.

audrianna

"All she wanted was to make sure all her friends at the hospital had Christmas. So we will keep her dream alive as long as we can," Bartol said.

"She knew how important it was when she got donations and how it made her feel good and how someone cared about her when she was stuck in the hospital, so I think this is amazing that her mom is doing her wish," Ashley Broschart, Geisinger child life services.

The Audrianna's Wish toy drive gets bigger every year. Bartol and members of the West Hazleton Fire Department collected many of the toys.

Besides the toy drive, the event is also a luncheon for all the patients, families, and staff.

"Just to make sure the kids and their families can have something that's not from a hospital," Bartol added.

Two volunteers who help every year are Sandra and Edward Heim of Orwigsburg. Edward battled leukemia but is now cancer free.

"One particular moment was when my son got a gift while undergoing treatment and it was the first time that day he had smiled. So we know how much of a difference it makes," said Sandra Heim.

Bartol says she does the toy drive year after year because that's what Audrianna would have wanted.

"I think she would think this was really awesome and it was the best thing she ever started and would be so happy that it's still going."

In addition to the toys and food, there was live music, Santa Claus, and of course, plenty of smiles.