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By Eric Heinz
Aiden Toffelmier, 7, of San Clemente, has seen firsthand what it’s like to be a child spending days in a hospital bed when he’d rather be outside playing, hanging out with friends, even doing chores or homework—anything in a typical day for a 7-year-old.
Aiden has what his mother, Karran, calls “the best form of cerebral palsy you can have,” and he has some other ailments, but he’s still able to keep up with his classmates and schoolwork at St. Edward’s Catholic School in Dana Point.
But for the children who have to remain in the hospital longer than short surgical visits, some who don’t have “the best form of” something, Aiden remembers them and wants them to have a holiday worth remembering.
“When we were (at the hospital) he said, ‘Mom, I want to buy toys for the kids who can’t go home,’ ” Karran said.
Since July, Aiden has been collecting recyclable material and turning it into cash. Karran said he’s raised about $1,200 to purchase a gift for children at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Aiden had weeklong stays in the neonatal intensive care unit at CHOC, and sometimes he would be able to interact with the other patients, but other times he was isolated in his room.
“He’s really worked hard on the recyclables and taking them and sorting them. He does the work, and I just drive the car,” Karran said.
Karran said she hopes to have the toys and gifts delivered to the hospital in the next two weeks. People who are interested in contributing to Aiden’s mission can drop off toys and other items at the Bonded Cleaners at 1221 N. El Camino Real, in San Clemente. Plush animals are not accepted.
Article amended to change the drop-off location.