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Lincoln Center Student Raises More Than 500 Toys For The Masonic Children’s Hospital

Gabby has been through a lot this past year. She has been in and out of the hospital undergoing treatments for cerebral palsy. One thing that always brought a smile to Gabby’s face was when one of the nursing staff would bring her a toy. One day Gabby turned to her mom and said, “Mommy, I want to give Barbies back.” That small sentence turned into a goal of donating 20 toys to Masonic Children’s Hospital. Little did Gabby and her family know, that small amount of 20 toys would become more than 500.

“This has brought our whole family pure joy,” says Gabby’s mom Lanaya, “One little girl can have an idea and just make something happen.” Lanaya says Gabby’s birthday falls on Christmas and this year her birthday wish wasn’t to receive presents, but to give them instead. 

“I started by putting a note out on Facebook to my friends and family letting them know that Gabby had this idea. Within three days I started receiving Amazon packages at our door full of toys.” At that point they decided 20 wasn’t enough and upped the goal to 90, and then 100, and by the end of January they were up to 400 toys. The final number donated in February was 527.

“To know there’s kindness out there has made this whole experience even better,” says Lanaya, “That’s what we’re trying to give back.” Gabby plans to have another toy drive next winter and has a dream of making it bigger and better. South St. Paul Schools is an IB World School District and strives to teach the whole child, including social-emotional learning. One characteristic of the IB Learner is caring. “There’s a lot that Gabby doesn’t understand,” says Lanaya, “but she does understand caring.” Gabby’s small wish turned into a giant demonstration of how much she cares.

Gabby holding one of the toys donated, surrounding by boxes and bags or more toys