A cancer survivor who happily defeated uterine and cervical cancer, but lost the ability to have children, decided to make the neighborhood kids in Highland her own by wrapping and distributing hundreds of Christmas presents each year.
Rosy Cervantes has hundreds of toys in her house – little mountains of cars and toddler toys and everything you can think of. There are gifts for all ages.
About 10 years ago, Cervantes had cervical and uterine cancer, and she beat it, but it took away the one thing she and her husband always wanted.
“I wouldn’t be able to have children, so that’s why I’m doing this because I’m filling the void that I don’t have children with this,” she said.
Six years ago, she saw the need to help underprivileged children in her Highland community.
She saw children so poor that their parents could not afford to buy them Christmas presents. She knows what that’s like firsthand because when she was a kid, her family was homeless for about five years and she lived on the streets of LA.
“My sister, who is younger than me, almost died because we had no food,” Cervantes said. ‘Because we had nothing. We lived on Top Ramen – the ten cent packets.’
That’s why she created the IE Community Children’s Christmas Toy Drive, which is held on Sunday. She collects toy donations from anyone who wants to help her and then packages those toys for needy children.
“You see their smiles, you see their little eyes and you see how happy they get,” Cervantes said.
Photos from past years show long lines of children, and they were all grateful for a gift.
“It actually warms my heart because I’ve been there and I know what it feels like and when you get that one gift it might not be what you wanted, but at least it’s something,” Cervantes said.
Sometimes a little something can make all the difference in the world in a child’s eyes.
“Maybe later in the future they’ll want to do something like I do and pay it to someone else when they get older,” she said.