KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Children’s Mercy Hospital sorts through hundreds of donations from one of its youngest donors.
Seven-year-old Tripp Hughes raised enough money to fill a U-Haul truck with toys.
“The people who do that are really, really nice and they just deserve something nice to happen to them,” said Tripp.
Tripp is a former patient of Children’s Mercy. He recently had his last chemotherapy treatment and overcame a battle with acute quasi-haploid pre-B cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.
“It’s just a roller coaster,” he said. “Every pill I’ve taken, every day for the past two and a half years.”
Tripp’s mother, Krista Hughes, said the family are determined to rise to the challenge head-on and with positivity. They received physical and emotional help from hospital staff.
“His team is just amazing. We are so happy to have Children’s Mercy here, ”she said. “Everyone you come in contact with helps make the process feel good.”
Krista Hughes said the first eight months were the toughest, but Tripp never lost her personality.
“He really impressed all of his doctors,” she said. “His energy was always very high, in a positive mood, never really let it affect him for the age he is. He’s always been very mature for everything he went through.
When Tripp wanted to start a toy drive to celebrate the end of her treatments, Krista and the family weren’t surprised.
“He amazes us everyday and he just has a big heart and we’re so proud of him,” she said.
Tripp’s Toy Drive started out with a few social media posts and then grew to include benefit concerts and viral TikTok videos.
“It just exceeded our expectations. We didn’t know it was going to get that big, ”said Krista Hughes.
Tripp and his mother took countless shopping trips with the cash donations to get the games, stuffed animals, and coloring books he loved to play with during his long stays in the hospital. He said he liked to choose items that other children would like.
“They only have about 80 blankets and there are a lot of children,” he said. “Some kids don’t like them because they don’t have character, so we get them with clouds and Batman and all kinds of different blankets and toys.”
Children’s Mercy staff said their supplies were very low. Summers are slow for donations and almost all toys are now single-use due to COVID-19 safety precautions. They say Tripp’s gift couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It’s kind of like Christmas in July here at the hospital,” said Gregg Rosenboom, in-kind donation coordinator for Children’s Mercy.
Rosenboom said every donation doesn’t have to be a truckload of toys, any amount helps. They encourage all children to get involved in community service as best they can.
“He just went through a very difficult time in his life and his thought was, ‘How can I give back and help other children who are going through difficult things?’ It’s great, ”said Rosenboom.
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