To Benefit Local Children with Cancer and Their Families: Santa’s sleigh bells will be ringing and children gleefully singing thanks to the second annual “Stuff the Sleigh of Katy” holiday toy drive benefiting pediatric cancer patients treated at the new Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) – West Campus and their siblings. Santa Claus will present the toys, collected in a giant Santa’s Sleigh on display at the Firethorne Visitor Center, to the West Houston-area children at a family holiday party at Firethorne. The community toy drive is accepting donations to purchase holiday gifts now through Tuesday, December 6. For info, call 281-693-0003.
“Those interested in supporting ‘Stuff the Sleigh’ can stop by the Firethorne Community Center to select a ‘sleigh’ gift card that has one wish list item on it from a young cancer patient or their brother or sister,” explained Garrett Ashmore, “Stuff the Sleigh” Co-Founder/Coordinator. “Donors — whether individuals or companies — may purchase one or more of these gifts to fulfill that child’s holiday wish,” he said.
Ashmore and his wife, Kelli, Firethorne residents, launched “Stuff the Sleigh of Katy” in 2010 to support young cancer patients and their families by helping ease their financial and emotional burdens during the holidays. “As the parents of two healthy children, we wanted to do something to help those who may be hospital-bound this holiday season and provide them with as joy-filled, meaningful, and worry-free a Christmas holiday as possible,” Garrett Ashmore said.
Katy mother Meagan Henderson, whose 8-year-old Zach has been undergoing treatment for leukemia since age 3, expressed her heart-felt appreciation to “Stuff the Sleigh”: “I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that helped me and my family last Christmas. If it wasn’t for your organization, I don’t know what kind of Christmas my kids would have had. With 5 kids, and only one of them being sick and diagnosed with cancer, it puts a strain on the entire family. Last year my son, who has leukemia, was in the hospital for Christmas undergoing more treatment, and when I brought him all of the wonderful gifts that were donated he was so happy. He cried and said to me “Mommy, this is the best Christmas EVER! I can’t thank you guys enough for everything that you did. My entire family finally saw some joy, in times when we had no hope.”
The “Stuff the Sleigh” toy drive and holiday party have received a tremendous outpouring of community support. Sponsors (to date) include: Texas Children’s Hospital; Voice Runner, Katy’s local phone and Internet company; Firethorne; Keller Williams Premier Realty Katy; Target; the “Pay It Forward” project of the first graders of Odessa Kilpatrick Elementary School in Katy I.S.D.; Country Park Portraits; McFatrige, Baker & Schmidt; Chasewood Bank; Capital Benefits; Academy Sports & Outdoors; Chuy’s Mexican Food; Chick-fil-A; the Geddes family; the Ashmore family; and Holy Covenant Staff. “A special thanks, too, to ‘Santa’ Tom Gibbs,” added Ashmore.
After purchasing toys for all the children on the list, “Stuff the Sleigh” organizers will apply any additional funds towards grocery gift cards or gas cards to the children’s families. For individuals and companies that would like to participate in the toy drive, donations may be made to “Stuff the Sleigh”-C/O Voice Runner, Inc. 2501 S. Mason Rd. Ste. 260, Katy, TX 77450. One hundred percent of the toys and monetary donations will go directly to benefit the TCH – West patients and their families.
Firethorne, situated 10 and 15 miles west, respectively, of the Texas Medical Center-West Campus and Houston’s Energy Corridor, blends the best nature has to offer: 150 acres devoted to parks and recreational amenities, a 12-acre lake with surrounding greenbelt, hike/bike trails, parks and playgrounds, tennis courts, Fitness Center, resort-style swimming pool, wildlife observation area and a natural bird habitat. Served by highly acclaimed schools, Firethorne combines the vibrancy of West Houston with the small-town charm of Katy/Fulshear. To tour Firethorne, take I-10 West and exit Pin Oak to FM 1463, call 281-693-1011 or visit http://www.firethorne.info