Bereaved mother holds toy drive in son's memory

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A bereaved Cincinnati mother is working to honor the memory of her late son through a annual toy drive that will benefit sick children at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and through the Dragonfly Foundation.

Tanya Kennedy Gill was shocked last year when she discovered items were stolen from her late son, Christian's, gravesite. When the community found out about the tragedy they rallied to raise money and replace what was taken.

The funds raised far exceeded the value of the items stolen so Gill used the difference to purchase wagons and stuffed animals to donate to Cincinnati Children's hospital in her late son's memory.

"I started thinking about all of the time that was spent in the hospital and how a good portion of his life was spent there," Gill said. "…then I started thinking about all of the kids who a good portion of their life is spent there and how many birthdays are they having in the hospital."

That's when Gill decided she would make the toy drive an annual event to be held on Christian's birthday weekend for the second year in a row.

"Christian's Birthday is February 18th and he would be 5… This would be his 4th birthday in heaven," Gill said.

The idea came when Gill was speaking with another mother who has experienced great hardship after the loss of a child.

"[she said] It really helped doing something for other children if we couldn't do it for our own child, which is exactly how I feel," she said.

Gill worked with the Donation Specialist at Cincinnati Children's to compile a list of acceptable toy donations. That list can be accessed by clicking the "Shop Now" link on the toy drive's Facebook page.

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