December 20, 2017 10:39 PM
Alina Galligan has seen firsthand what it's like to spend the holidays in the hospital with her family.
"Christmas is sad and kids feel that Santa is going to forget them," said Galligan.
Her son Johnny spent his very first Christmas in the hospital at just ten months old.
"Coincidentally, he's had three more (stays) since then including this year," Galligan said. "He has his good days, a little bit more bad days than good."
Because she knows how tough it can be, she wanted to do something to make the holidays brighter for others in the same situation. That's how Johnny's annual toy drive came about.
"With the toy drive, we have a little extra gifts for them so they can feel extra special," Galligan added.
The drive is now in it's fifth year, and Wednesday, this year's donations were delivered to Essentia's Children's Hospital.
"Johnny's family is amazing and they are able to engage their community in the toy drive, which provides a huge support to our Santa workshop program here," said Johannah Orman, Child-Life Specialist at Essentia.
The gifts will be handed out to kids and their families in the days leading up to Christmas morning.
"We know and recognize that families are usually together on the holidays and having someone in the hospital can make it a situation where they are not able to be together," said Orman.
Last year, over 2,000 donations went to local kids.
"It gives us something to strive for. It gives us a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel," Galligan said.
As for Johnny, they are now on Day 41 of this hospital stay but she says each day gets a little better.
"(It's amazing) Knowing that we are helping other people who are doing exactly what we are living day by day... we don't know health wise how are children will be from year to year, so it's amazing to be able to help a little bit," said Galligan.
People can still donate to the drive. You can find out how through Johnny's Toy Drive Facebook Page.
Updated: December 20, 2017 10:39 PM
Created: December 20, 2017 05:21 PM
Copyright 2017 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved