A local group of family and friends is honoring the memories of two children whose lives were cut short due to illness and tragedy by bringing a little joy to patients at the Children’s Hospital of Central California.
In February 2006, 6-year-old Destiny Beecroft lost her three-year battle with neuroblastoma, a cancer that forms in nerve tissue. Destiny’s mother, Desiree Denney, relied on the support of her extended family to get through the tough times during Destiny’s treatment and after her death.
Two years later that same family suffered another tragedy when 22-month-old Isaac Mannon drowned in his grandmother’s pool in Modesto. When Isaac was found in the pool, he was taken to Children’s Hospital but never regained consciousness and became an organ donor.
For the past three years, every holiday season the family and friends of Destiny and Isaac have come together to collect new toys and money for the purchase of gift cards for the patients of Children’s Hospital of Central California.
“We were overwhelmed by the kindness,” said Michele James, a family member. “After Destiny passed away we decided to start a toy drive for the hospital. It also helped the kids in our family to give them something positive to go to the hospital for.”
The soft cuddly toys that are donated are given to patients in the Children’s Hospital’s intensive care unit, the other toys are wrapped, marked as either for a boy or girl then passed out at the hospital’s clinic, said James. Money donated goes to buying gift cards from Walmart, and other gas and grocery stores, which are then given to the staff nurses to distribute to families in need.
Last year the Turlock Tractor Supply filled three barrels full of toys and this year they have issued a challenge to the Tractor Supply stores in Merced County.
“We already received calls from the Los Banos and Atwater stores asking for barrels so they can beat the Turlock store in donations,” James said.
In an effort to raise funds, a Destiny and Isaac Memorial Toy Drive and Dinner Dance will be held on Nov. 26 at Bejing Restaurant, 3848 McHenry Ave., Modesto. No host cocktails will start at 6 p.m., dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and dancing will go to 11 p.m.
To purchase tickets, call Michele James at 568-1112 or Chelsey Kane at 417-9954.
Bring a toy to the event and receive one free raffle ticket.