RIDGEWOOD, N.J. – Katie Miller remembers how a pair of Beatz headphones and Apple products brightened the day of an 18-year-old receiving cancer treatment at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.
“It was fantastic,” recalled Miller, a child life specialist and supervisor of community outreach and projects at the hospital.
That moment was made possible through the annual Bergen County PBA Toy Drive.
Loads of toys will be delivered to destinations such as Valley, the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HUMC, and other local organizations and families in need.
“They really provide us with an abundance of toys and gifts for our kids, and it makes a huge difference,” said Janine Cook, a child life specialist in Valley’s pediatric unit.
“The worst possible place you can be on Christmas is a hospital … So just having a toy to give a child who is scared and worried and sick, or not feeling well or has to have surgery, really makes a huge difference in their lives at that moment,” she said.
Miller said when officers came through with headphones and Apple products for the young cancer patient, “we couldn’t thank them enough.” The experience was very rewarding – and “we were just able to be the messengers and be a part of this girl’s life,” she said.
The toys are distributed to the pediatric population throughout the Valley Health System, and some may even be given to siblings in waiting rooms or lobbies, Miller said.
“It gets you very much in the spirit of the holidays and giving back,” she said.
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