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Former Riley Hospital patient hosts toy drive to help families

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CARTHAGE, Ind.–  Sometimes kids can be very protective of their toys, but one 5-year-old girl felt other kids needed them more than she did.

On her own, she decided to host a toy drive and donate the money to families at Riley Hospital. Kaylen Jenkins was born with Gastroschisis, a birth defect where the baby’s intestines are outside of the baby’s body. She was born at IU Health University Hospital and taken straight to Riley Hospital where she stayed for two months fighting through multiple surgeries. Five years later, her mom Amber said she is healthy and doing well.

A few months ago, they were getting ready to move from Wilkinson and her parents told Jenkins she needed to get rid of some of her toys. Originally, Jenkins wanted to give the toys to kids at Riley Hospital but her mom thought monetary donations would help the families even more. Jenkins set out her toys on several tables in their front lawn. Her 3-year-old brother, Charlie, also pitched in.

“For her to have that idea and that heart to do that is exciting and we are really proud of her,” said Amber.

The toys were free but plenty of people came by to donate, she said. Because of the generosity, Jenkins will soon hand-deliver nearly $700 dollars worth in gift cards to families at Riley Hospital. They said they gave a number of the toys away and donated the rest to non-profits.

“I know they were sick and there’s probably a lot and it’s a big hospital and it’s really busy whenever we go there so I just wanted to help them,” Jenkins said.

The Jenkins family acknowledged not everyone’s story at Riley Hospital ends like theirs did. Amber was proud to see her young daughter wanting to give back to families there. The family is incredibly grateful for the staff and doctors at Riley Hospital. If you are interested, you can make a donation to the hospital here.

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