Calgary girl racks up 9 carts of toys in 3-minute Toys ‘R’ Us dash
A soon-to-be nine-year-old Calgary girl born with a heart defect filled nine carts in a three-minute shopping spree at the Sundridge Toys “R” Us on Tuesday morning.
Lily Gibb, a Starlight Children’s Foundation kid who has hypoplastic right heart syndrome, was chosen to pack carts with as many toys as possible, with help from her parents and three siblings.
Lily has had three open-heart surgeries and has spent a lot of time inside the hospital instead of out playing.
“Essentially, she was born with half a usable heart,” said Lily’s mom Leah Gibb.
“We’ve been so lucky. She’s done really, really well and she’s thriving and we’re super grateful for how well she’s doing… She tires out a little bit quickly but most people wouldn’t know just looking at her that anything was wrong unless they saw her scar.”
Melanie Teed-Murch, president of Toys “R” Us Canada, said the spree gives kids a chance to be just that.
“That’s part of our partnership with the Starlight Foundation is to really, as Toys “R” Us Canada, envelope these families and help them remember not the sterile moments, not the needle pricks, not the surgeries — just being a kid, sparking their imagination and their creativity and giving back to the local communities that we serve,” she said.
Since partnering in 1998, Toy “R” Us and the Starlight Children’s Foundation have given more than $19 million to programs across Canada, according to officials.
During the shopping trip, kids can forget about their illnesses in a manic three minutes, Teed-Murch said.
“She’s very prepared. She brought a map today, so she has scoped out the store and has a list of her very favourite things,” she said.
Lily was on the hunt for Barbies, an L.O.L. Surprise! House, a hula hoop, dolls, crafts, stuffies and scooters.
Leah said trying to get the kids to sleep on Monday night was like “Christmas morning on steroids.”
“This is going to be one of those memories that we are all going to have for our whole lives,” she said. “When she looks back at her childhood, this is going to be one of those amazing things she recalls as the best day ever when she was a kid. She won the kid lottery.”
Brian Bringolf, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, said it’s important that any money raised in the community gets spent in the community, which is what they do across the country.
“It’s an opportunity for a child that goes through so many difficult times — these kids mature very early and it’s time for them to be a kid again.
“Where is there a better place to be a kid than a Toys “R” Us store?”
He said the foundation is about helping these children who have been in and out of the hospital.
“When you have a seriously ill child, it’s not easy to do these things, but Starlight really thinks of everything,” he said.
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