Gracyn Smith knows what it’s like to be a sick kid stuck in a hospital because she’s been that kid herself. The nine-year-old has epilepsy and has spent a lot of time in hospitals with the long-term illness, so she and her brothers wanted to find a way to cheer up other hospitalized children. And what makes kids happy? Toys!
The Smith family started Smith Smiles, a nonprofit that donates new toys to hospitals. They get wish lists from hospital staff and bring what they need to lift the spirits of their young patients. Having something to play with can be such a welcome distraction for a sick kid in the hospital.
“Gracyn is a brave girl who has faced many medical challenges in her young life,” explains Dr. Elia Pestana-Knight, Gracyn’s neurologist. “It may seem unusual to see someone being so thoughtful and generous to help other children while battling their own serious illness. This is what makes Gracyn so special.”