Warriors cheerleaders collect holiday toys for kids hospitalized
Fri, 23 Nov 2012 03:05:00 GMT —
The cheerleaders at Santa Rosa High trade in their pom-poms for handfuls of toys.
"She's part of our squad," Victoria Rickford, senior cheerleader said. She's family, so, if her family is in need, we're going to help her out."
The toy donations from the Warriors are in support of Team Gabby, named after Gabby Gonzalez.
She's the 9-year-old Santa Rosa girl who opted to give presents to kids in the hospital over the holidays rather than to receive them.
It started last Christmas after she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Her sister, Victoria Vasquez, is on the squad.
"It's really good that I see my friends helping me and my sister out and helping everybody else out... that don't get to spend Christmas at home," she said.
Gabby may be in remission but that isn't stopping her from spreading cheer at places like Driscoll Children's hospital and clinics, Vannie E. Cook, Jr. Cancer Foundation and Make-A-Wish, where the toys will be donated.
"It makes me feel good," Gabby said.
Gabby's dad knows how difficult it can be for families who can't be together.
"You really don't feel like doing much celebrating but you have to dig deep inside and go that extra mile for the kids," Genaro Gonzalez, Jr. said.
Santa Rosa High is one of a dozen drop off locations for Team Gabby this year.
They're hoping to collect about 1,500 toys.
The goal has doubled from last year.
Team Gabby organizers believe it's well within reach thanks in part to a big donation from FNB Insurance Agency, a Pay it 4Ward partner with Action 4 News.
"We have Barbies, toys, puzzles, everything!" Karen Gonzalez, FNB Insurance spokesperson said.
She has $400 dollars worth of toys in all.
Karen secretly shopped for Team Gabby as part of the agency's weekly pledge to reward kindness on Action 4 News.
"It was really fun getting to shop for all these kids and thinking about each and every kid that will be affected and get to enjoy these toys because of your [Gabby's] hard work," Karen said. "It's really great to be able to Pay it 4Ward because of your [Gabby's] great work."
The mound of toys is a sight Team Gabby will never forget.
"What do you say to the kids who will be in the hospital this holiday season?" Action 4's Ryan Wolf asked.
"Stay strong and I hope you get to come home soon," Gabby answered.
It's proof good can come from anything when you Pay it 4Ward.