A tradition of giving continues for former Riley patient

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A tradition of giving toys to sick children continues for a teenager who was once a Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health patient herself.

Gracie Bennett started Gracie’s Toy Drive nine years ago when she was in kindergarten.

Bennett has toy collection boxes set up at nearly 50 businesses across central Indiana. Her goal is to collect and donate 15,000 toys this year.

The most she’s ever donated was in 2017 when she collected more than 11,000 toys.

When Bennett was 3-years-old, doctors found a tumor on her brain. Since then, she’s had several surgeries and is even missing parts of her brain.

After spending so much time at Riley Hospital, Bennett said she understands how many of the children there feel.

“Some parents don’t have the money to buy their kids gifts while they are paying for other stuff for their kids to get them better and so they are hoping that this kid can have a better outcome in the hospital. I want the kids to be able to have Christmas even though they are going through a rough time,” said Gracie.

Bennett’s work led her to be named a 2018 Riley Champion where she served as an ambassador for Riley Children’s Foundation.

If you want to donate a toy, it has to be brand new and unwrapped. You can find toy drop off locations as well as a link to donate money here.