Whitney Webster hugs one of her gifts. Whitney was with her mom, Joey Webster, at Lurie Children’s Hospital. (Credit: Regine Schlesinger)
CHICAGO (CBS) — Christmas came a week early for the children being treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Jackson Eddy was excited with the bag of toys he received.
The four-year-old is being treated for leukemia and was smiling ear to ear as he unwrapped his presents.
The toy giveaway is a legacy of Mark Staehely of Shorewood.
Mark was diagnosed at the age of 12 with a cancer that killed him six years later.
“He was in hospital that first Christmas and noticed that nobody was getting any toys,” said Mark’s mother, Sue.
So Mark and his mom began collecting toys and distributing them to his fellow patients each year.
“He could be so sick but when I would wake him up in the morning to come up here, you would never know that there was a thing wrong with him. It was like he just took on new life for that one day.”
Mark Staehely at his last toy drive in December 2005, He passed away in March of 2006. (Credit: Lurie Children’s Hospital)
Before he died in 2006, Mark made his mother promise to keep up the tradition.
She’s done it every year, this year giving out 40,000 toys for every child in the hospital.