Bradley Pacheco spent his life going in and out of the hospital, sometimes even spending the holidays in a hospital room with his family. Christmas wasn’t as bright and filled with holiday cheer when he was sick and stuck in the hospital.
But Pacheco’s mother Lisa Pires remembers a moment that brought some joy into their lives on one Christmas Eve in the hospital.
“A family would come in on Christmas Eve and give gifts to all the kids,” Pires said. “That inspired me and made me think that we should have something done like that locally. It really made a difference with the kids.”
Three years ago 8-year-old Pacheco passed away from complications of meningitis that he got when he was 5 months old. Pires decided she wanted to do something positive to help in the healing process from the loss of her son.
“I put together a toy drive last year to give toys to kids in the hospital,” she said. “It is very moving. One little thing can make such a big difference.”
Last year, Pires collected about 100 toys between family and friends that she took to local hospitals. So far, she has collected more than 100 toys this year that she plans to distribute to kids at Emanuel Medical Center, Memorial Medical Center, Doctors Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Central California.
She started the toy drive around Nov. 17 in celebration of Pacheco’s birthday and will collect toys until Dec. 22 at her local business, Bronze Body.
“He is a little teacher,” Pires said. “He is still working his magic everywhere.”
Student service group the Builders Club at Dutcher Middle School has also taken on the Bradley Pacheco Toy Drive to help bring toys to kids in the hospital over Christmas time.
“It feels good to help people during the Christmas season, especially those kids that don’t have as much,” said Alli Gomez, eighth grader at Dutcher Middle School.
Students in the Builders Club have made posters to put around the school and have a box ready for donations in the front office with 10 toys already collected in one day.
“I am really proud of the students who want to be involved,” said Kristen Norman, Builders Club advisor.
Dutcher Middle will be collecting toys until Dec. 17 at the school’s front office.
Toys should be for children from newborns up to 18 years old, Pires said. Indoor toys such as books, DVDs and board games are suggested items.
“Think of comforts of home and things they would enjoy,” she said.
One of Pacheco’s favorite things to do was to watch movies — more specifically “Madagascar.”
To donate to the Bradley Pacheco Toy Drive, bring new toys to Dutcher Middle School or Bronze Body, 2626 Geer Rd. or call 667-5666 and ask for Lisa Pires.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.