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Miracle Kid gives back to children’s hospital and patients

Nine-year-old Emma Straub of Selinsgrove has been a patient of Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital since she was born. That is why she and her family recently organized a toy drive to give back to the children’s hospital and its patients.

Emma was born premature with many congenital defects affecting her eyes, hips, trachea and esophagus. Among her more severe conditions, the top part of her esophagus and bottom part of her stomach were not connected. She also had a narrowing of the major artery that carries blood to the body from the heart. Both defects needed emergent surgical intervention in the first days of her life in order for her to survive.

Emma, the local Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger champion for 2021, has benefitted from the donations that are made to the children’s hospital, particularly through the Child Life Program during the last 9 ½ years.

“We have always been thankful for Children’s Miracle Network for the donations that have provided equipment that has directly benefited Emma,” said her mother Jennifer. “We are especially thankful for the Child Life team that has helped Emma by providing love, support and understanding while during admitted stays at the hospital and follow-up appointments.”

Jennifer explained that Emma came up with the idea for the toy drive because of the all the toys she has received from Child Life and Children’s Miracle Network have helped her see the hospital as a safe place.

“They are so much more than just toys to her,” Jennifer said. “Each has a story and sentimental value to her.”

Jennifer created a Facebook event for the toy drive that ran from April 5 to May 31. They sent out many emails and had a story in the local newspaper about the drive. More than 25 people and groups participated, donating toys, money, and gift cards. Groups that helped included classes at Emma’s school, Selinsgrove Intermediate school; teachers at Midd-West school district where Emma’s mom is a teacher; Magical Memories; Mark Monaghan and Murray Motors Chevrolet; employees of Perkins restaurant in Selinsgrove; friends, family and neighbors.

“I love knowing that all of the toys are going to good use for the kids in the hospital,” Emma said.

           Miracle Kid Emma Straub poses with her large toy donation to Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s    Hospital.