SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A senior from Lake Brantley High School makes Christmas a little brighter for kids who will be spending the holidays in the hospital.
Isabella Miguez, 17, said she started collecting toys for children fighting cancer at AdventHealth three years ago. She said it started as just two collectible toy boxes and an idea.
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“I didn’t really expect it to get this big,” she said.
Now her idea has become a Christmas miracle for many families in Central Florida.
“My house looks like a toy store,” Miguez said.
The Lake Brantley High School senior is enlisting the help of students, faculty and staff, as well as local businesses to donate the toys. She said the donations make the holidays a little easier for these families.
“How can we expect parents to pay their treatment costs to save their child’s life and also for Christmas gifts? It’s a lot, so I wanted to do something to help,” she said.
On her first toy ride in 2019, Miguez said she collected 500 gifts. Last year, however, the pandemic put a stop to donations.
“Last year, 2020, because of COVID, I got about 175 (gifts), which wasn’t that much, but I understood that because of the pandemic and things like that, I wouldn’t have had the same result,” Miguez said.
This year, she asked her principal Brian Blasewitz if she could place more toy collection boxes on campus.
“The response from our faculty and our faculty and our staff and our children and our community has been just really, really overwhelming,” Blasewitz said.
She collected over 1,000 toys for newborns, teens, and everything in between. The gifts were piled high in boxes, some of which were overflowing. She said she plans to take the presents to the hospital on Monday.
Lake Brantley High School senior raises 1,000 toys for kids battling cancer (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)
“I hope they have enough help to bring them up,” Miguez said.
She gets results and makes children happy in what can be a scary and difficult time.
“It’s a very special school here and that’s because of kids like Bella. It’s just overwhelming how kind, empathetic and compassionate they are,” Blasewitz said.
Miguez said she plans to study nonprofit management at UCF with the goal of running her own nonprofit to help children in need.
She adds that even though she’s graduating this year, she won’t stop helping anytime soon.
“My goal is to be able to bring the toy car back to Brantley next year and for many years to come,” she said.
Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.