Hometown Hero: Young patient keeps hospital toy closet full

- The toy closet is constantly full at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and it's all thanks to 9-year-old Addison.

"The kids, when they're done here and they get to go to the prize closet, it's a big deal for them. To be finished with their treatment and to get to go pick a prize…it really makes them smile," explained Addison's mom, Alice Kapustiak.

Addison spends a lot of time at the infusion center inside All Children’s Hospital. She's been in and out of the hospital since she was just 6 months old.

"She had three brain surgeries before she was 2 years old. Now, she has TRAP syndrome, which is a periodic fever syndrome. She gets infusions now, which is really helping, so it's really good," said Alice. 

Addy goes to the infusion center twice a month and spends most of the day hooked up to a machine. It can get pretty boring, so she plays games to pass the time. That's how she noticed the toy closet was getting empty and decided to step in to help.

"The prize closet wasn't full so I thought about the other kids that wouldn't be able to get any toys. So, for my birthday, I asked all my friends to collect toys instead of gifts," said Addison.

She collected 1,500 toys. It was much more than she ever could have imagined.

"It made me feel awesome to make kids feel happy," said Addison.

She liked it so much, she started the non-profit foundation "Sending Smiles" and hopes to fill up infusion closets at hospitals across Tampa Bay.

"Kids are so strong -- stronger than a lot of other people," said Alice.

Addy is getting a lot of help from the community. On April 2, Addy became the Tampa Bay Lightning's youngest community hero and the proud recipient of a $50,000 check.

"It's pretty, pretty cool. She likes to help people all the time," said Alice.

Addy plans on using half of the award money for her college education and the other $25,000 to buy more toys for her Sending Smiles foundation.

LINK: For more information: www.facebook.com/SendingSmilestoAllKids/

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Hometown Hero: Young patient keeps hospital toy closet full
  • BBQ restaurant-turned-church serves physical, spiritual food to homeless
  • Dream boxes filled with books for all reading levels in USF-area
  • Hometown Heroes: One woman; 1,000 pairs of shoes
  • 'Spirit' the therapy unicorn spreads joy to those who need it
  • Tampa Bay woman opens up about past eating disorder
  • Thunder and Bolt are therapy pigs with a purpose
  • Mother, daughter help Metropolitan Ministries families during the holidays
  • Volunteer leaders provide service to families in need
  • Biker bar becomes hometown hero to families in need