Hoggard student brings joy to sick kids

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Senior projects are usually focused on topics like civil rights, photography, or environmental research. However, one local senior chose to bring Christmas a little early to children at the Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

‘Tis the season for giving and that is just what Hoggard High Senior Kellen Hanson is doing.

“Just to know that giving a toy to a child while they’re feeling maybe sad or even depressed sometimes can make them just bring a smile to their face is just like the most wonderful feeling I could have ever experienced,” Kellen said.

For Kellen’s senior project he partnered up with Andrew’s Toy Box, and with help from his church, he collected more than 200 toys. It is a project close to his heart because some of his family members were diagnosed with serious conditions as children.

“I just saw what the diseases and afflictions did to them and like how just the actual hospitalization through all this could affect them,” Kellen said. “And I just wanted to find a way that I could make them feel better or help other children in the future not have them have to go through the same thing.”

Now he is bringing smiles, laughter, and a variety of gifts to children like Carter. Giving patients and parents a much needed break.

“It not only helps them I think in their healing process, it also helps boost their self-esteem while they’re here,” Carter’s mother, Amy Pederson said.

It is a chance for Kellen to make his senior project far more than just a graded piece of paper.

“To support children by any means necessary through hardships they have to go through,” Kellen said. “It’s horrible that children at such a young age have to go through very difficult times and afflictions like this and have to be hospitalized and feel isolation, and all these very immature feelings.”

Kellen wants to ensure kids like Carter they have support through this tough time.

“It just really reassures me that there’s still great, genuine people out there that want to do good and show good and just do better for our community,” Pederson said.

The donated toys will be handed out to dozens of patients at the hospital throughout the holiday season.

Kellen said this is only the beginning for him as he plans to continue to give back for years to come.

Categories: Community, Local, New Hanover, News

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