Campaign supports seriously ill children

NANAIMO – An 11-year-old Nanaimo girl is one of many ill Canadian children to benefit from Toys “R” Us Canada’s fundraising efforts.

Emily Breingan

Emily Breingan

An 11-year-old Nanaimo girl is one of many seriously ill Canadian children to benefit from Toys “R” Us Canada’s fundraising efforts.

The company helped raise a record $1.5 million in 2012 for Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, bringing its fundraising total for the foundation to $10 million over the past 15 years.

“Helping children is the focus of our charitable giving and we believe that kids should be kids, especially when they are going through difficult times,” said Kevin Macnab, president, Toys “R”Us, Canada.

The funds raised by Toys“R”Us, Canada help support children like Emily Breingan from Nanaimo.

“From the day Emily was born she has been a little girl with a ‘little extra’,” said Emily’s mother Holly Breingan.

Emily was born with down syndrome: an extra chromosome in every cell of her body. She requires extra care as she has many medical concerns that include severe gastro-intestinal reflux, a heart condition, being J-tube fed 22 hours per day and having an compromised immune system.

Yet none of this slows Emily down. She loves Hannah Montana, playing with friends, singing her heart out and she gives a little extra love, charm, and enthusiasm.

Emily spends a lot of time in isolation while in hospital – including during her longest stay of more than 100 days.

She loves the fun centres: these consist of a Nintendo Wii, a DVD player, a flat screen TV and includes a library of movies and games. Popular with children of all ages, the units can be easily wheeled from emergency rooms, to treatment centres or individual rooms, and are a welcome bedside visitor.

Emily’s brother Ezra also loves the fun centres, allowing them to have an escape from the serious world of being ill, and simply have fun as siblings.

“As a single mom to Emily and Ezra it is often hard to cope with all the challenges of doctors’ appointments, tests, surgeries and long hospital stays.  Knowing that Starlight is there to help during the long days in hospital with the Fun Centre, fun kits and crafts is a huge relief,” said Holly.

Christopher Barry, Starlight president, said the foundation is  grateful to Toys“R”Us, Canada for its ongoing commitment to their programs.

“It allows us to continue to provide much-needed relief from the pain, fear and isolation that sick children feel dominates their lives,” he said. “Our programs are integral to the total care of seriously ill children and this support will help us reach even more children across Canada.”

For more information, please go to www.starlightcanada.org.