Toys from the heart - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Toys from the heart

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -  Two Spokane Valley girls are spreading love from their heart this month, which is designated American Heart Health Month.  

10-year-old Camryn Paske and her 9-year-old friend Alivia Lanphere collected toys from family and friends, and delivered them to children at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. Both girls know what it's like to spend time in the hospital. They both have aortic stenosis, and both have had open-heart surgery.

Camryn's mom Melissa says she found out about her daughter's condition when she was 26 weeks pregnant back in 2004. An ultrasound showed Camryn's aortic valve wasn't developing properly and she underwent in utero surgery. She was born healthy, but 8 years later Camryn went under the knife for open-heart surgery to have her valve repaired.  

Melissa says having a child in the hospital is a humbling experience, and says she remembers the generosity of a stranger during that difficult time. She says a man, whose daughter was in the hospital, gave her a gift card to the hospital gift shop. Melissa was forever touched by the gesture and five years later helped her daughter plan a toy drive.

Five years later, the event has become an annual tradition. This year, Camryn had the help of her friend Alivia. The 9-year-old lives down the street from Camryn and has aortic stenosis too. Alivia had open-heart surgery when she was five. 

The girls say it's nice to know they are helping kids in the same place they once were by delivering toys. They understand that limitations keep them from being able to run and play, and even leave their bed. They hope their delivery will bring smiles to other kids' faces.

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