Higganum girl collects holiday gifts for kids with cancer

OLD SAYBROOK – A young girl who has made it her mission to collect items for patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, is now gathering toys for the holidays.

12-year-old Emma Becker of Higganum, is holding her third annual toy drive for the children in CCMC’s oncology unit with the help of Kia-Mazda of Old Saybrook.

A van is on display in the dealership showroom and Becker’s goal is to fill it with toy’s for kids of all ages.

“It would make me really happy to have other kids have a smile on their face when they’re sad in the hospital,” she said.

Becker was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis at 8-years-old.

“Unfortunately she has tumors on her eye nerves and her brain stem which require chemotherapy treatment,” her mother Rebecca Donkor said. “I’m just proud to be her mom because she could be selfish and say it’s not fair, but instead she turns it into something positive.”

Becker said the hospital could be scary but getting a toy from the “toy closet,” at CCMC always put a smile on her face which is why she wants to fill the closet with more toys for the holidays.

"There’s a whole bunch of toys in the van and my goal is to fill the whole van,” Becker said. “We are so close to filling it.”

This isn’t the first time Becker made it her mission to spread happiness at CCMC.

Becker gave up birthday gifts this year and instead, she asked for silly socks to give to the children at the hospital. She collected more than 2,500 pairs.

To help with her holiday toy drive, toys, gift cards and monetary donations can be brought to Kia-Mazda of Old Saybrook located at 275 Middlesex Turnpike.

The dealership said you can come in and drop off donations without being approached about buying a car. The last day to drop off toys is Saturday, December 9, so they could deliver the toys to the hospital in time for the holidays.

The dealership plans to donate $10 for every toy Becker collects to go back to patient’s families.

“People that are from out of town that have to pay for lodging, gas and food, she’d be able to give them not just toys but actual cash,” Landon Sock of Kia-Mazda Old Saybrook said.

Becker said she hopes to continue this tradition every year.

“Next year, we’re gonna need two vans!”