It’s hard enough being a kid without having a cancer diagnosis, too. Weston Newswanger was just a toddler when he was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. This invasive soft tissue cancer required extensive treatment. So little Weston was off to Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Weston underwent specialized cancer treatment for almost a year. The Children’s Hospital became a home away from home where Weston befriended his doctors and nurses. The boy made it through the ordeal with the help of his beloved toys. His favorite, of course, was Play-Doh.
Thankfully, Weston’s cancer went into remission thanks to the tireless efforts of the team at Penn State Children’s Hospital. Weston was going to make it to his fifth birthday.
A birthday is a special time for a child. His medical team asked Weston what he wanted for his birthday. Weston’s mother, Amy Newswanger, reported a surprising request from the young cancer survivor.
Weston didn’t want any gifts at all. He was so happy with his cancer being in remission that his health was enough.
Initially, Amy and Weston pondered making a monetary donation to the hospital that saved him. But that didn’t seem to suit the situation.
Weston thought about how much he enjoyed playing with toys during his treatments. There were other children still at Penn State Hospital, and Weston knew that like him, they desperately needed something to take their minds off all of the stress and worry.
With a sudden burst of overwhelming generosity, Weston decided to give his toys away to the other children at the hospital. That way, he could rest easy knowing that his beloved toys were still spreading cheer and joy.
To get everybody into the spirit of things, Amy and Weston went on social media to see if anyone wanted to donate with them. After all, there were an awful lot of children at the hospital, and one boy’s toys surely would not be enough for all of them.
The idea was a hit and spread like wildfire. At the end of a week, Amy counted up the donations. “We got 1,263 containers of Play-Doh,” she recounted. “71 superheroes… and then 1,249 dinosaurs. And a bunch of miscellaneous items we didn’t even add up.” Not too shabby for a five year old boy and his mom!
With this bounty of gifts in hand, the Newswangers paid a special visit to Penn State Children’s Hospital. It was heartwarming to see the familiar faces of the staff light up at the sight of all those toys. Hopefully the children who receive those toys will be just as inspired to pass along the generosity when they are healthy, too!