COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Many parents know how nervous their children can get when they have to go to the doctor or dentist, much less the hospital.
It’s that apprehension that has driven one Central Ohio child, who is familiar with lengthy hospital stays, to use her birthday to celebrate the gift of giving back.
“It warms my heart because everybody wants to help,” said nine-year-old Onna Sanders, as she sat on her front porch among bins filled with toys.
The dolls and action figures surrounding Onna aren’t for her toy collection. They’re for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“I wanted to give back. Don’t you think we should give back? When someone gives you something we should give back,” Sanders said.
Onna is no stranger to the beds that many of the children there now occupy. She’s already undergone more than 20 surgeries in her young life.
“They would bring in a toy, and she would instantly calm down and focus everything on that toy,” said Nicole Roby, Onna’s mother.
For her landmark 10th birthday, Onna decided that instead of receiving gifts she wanted to start a toy drive for all the children like her.
“That’s just her little personality. She’s always worried about what somebody else is going through versus herself,” Roby said.
Already having collected more than 200 toys, Onna will soon return to the hospital for another six-month stay.
Her mom explained that Onna’s a fighter.
“She sees seen other kids that are worse off than she is and so it makes her humble. It makes her realize she can keep on fighting,” says Roby of her daughter who continues to maintain a positive outlook for herself.”
“Sometimes it can be tough, but we get through it,” said Onna.
Even though she faces an uncertain road, Onna hopes to bring a little light to the other patient’s paths.
“I’ve been through a lot and I’m still here and I’m sitting here right now, I’m doing this and I think I’ll be just fine,” Onna said.
Onna has collected over 200 dolls and action figures, more than doubling her initial goal, and she hopes the donations continue.
Onna will hold a toy drive on Sunday, October 17th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Howell Park in Bremen, OH. Anyone wishing to donate can drive through and drop off a doll or action figure without even getting out of their car.