Monday, December 1, 2003

Making life better: A heartfelt response

Chris Floyd of the Oak Hills High School social studies department is proud of the students at his school. He tells us that they've made a special effort this holiday season to bring comfort to children suffering from congenital heart diseases.

"Oak Hills High School sponsored a Toys for Nicholas toy drive and collected roughly $5,000 worth of toys and other infant care items. Toys for Nicholas is a division of the Pediatric Heart Research Association, located in West Chester, Ohio.

"All items donated will help children suffering from congenital heart disease at Children's Hospital and other local cardiac intensive care units (CICUs).

"We had an amazing response from the students and community. It shows that high school kids can really impact those in need."

Toys for Nicholas was started in 1997 by Dodie Weisbrod, whose two-month-old son, Nicholas, had died of a congenital heart defect at Children's. It began as one mother's way of giving back to the hospital that had tried so hard to help her child. On Dec. 7, 1997, which would have been Nicholas' first birthday, the Weisbrod family donated $50 worth of infant toys to the pediatric cardiology department.

The next year they collected $300 worth of toys; the year after that it was $1,900 worth. Now the Weisbrod's rememberance of their child has grown into an annual fund drive that raises thousands of dollars for research in addition to providing the hospital with toys. The organization also seeks to provide Children's and other pediatric care units with a wide variety of infant care items.

According to the organization, the sixth anniversary of Nicholas' birth brought in $15,549 which was distributed to three area hospitals: The CICU at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, the NICU at University Hospital and Dayton's Children's Hospital.

One small act of kindness can produce ripples that have an enormous impact, as Chris Floyd's students at Oak Hills now realize.

You can learn more about Toys for Nicholas and the Pediatric Heart Research Association by visiting the program's Web site (http://www.toysfornicholas.org).


Do you know of a development, a creation or act of inspiration that you think makes life better in Greater Cincinnati? Contact editorial writer Ray Cooklis at (513) 768-8525, e-mail rcooklis@enquirer.com

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