Cancer Survivor To Donate Toys To Arkansas Children’s Hospital

VAN BUREN (KFSM)- You may have noticed big boxes at local CV's stores this month. They're part of a project much bigger than the box itself.

"I was diagnosed unexpectedly," Cancer survivor, Jaelyn Cooper said. "It was a crazy time for our family, and I went to Children's [Hospital] and was diagnosed there after a few ER visits, and they did my treatment. Six years later, I'm cancer free."

Now, Cooper is giving back for the second year through her donation project, "Cheer to Children's."

"Last year, whenever I was five years cancer free, I decided to collect toys for the toy closet instead of people bringing things to me, so I decided to do it again for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but on a much bigger scale," Cooper said.

Cooper said these toys are just one way she can give back to a place that gave her so much.

"Whenever I first walked into the doors, it was a hospital, so I kind of expected it to be scary," Cooper said. "They didn't make me feel that way at all. They made me feel at home, and I was always happy. They were very good at spreading cheer to me."

Cooper said she hopes the toys will brighten another child's day, just the way it brightened hers.

"If I can beat cancer, I can do just about anything I set my mind to."

CV's Van Buren store manager, Les Thomas said the store participates in a lot of things just like this, but Cooper's story is different.

"When one of our own comes up, and has something she has been affected by and wants to be apart of this, and do something for the kids at the hospital, it's a great thing," Thomas said.

Thomas said CV's will participate in the toy drive for years to come.

"She realized what happened to her, and she was blessed to come out on the other side," Thomas said. "She stepped up and she wanted to give back. She got another change, so she wants to give back."

Donation boxes are located at all River Valley CV's stores. You can donate until Sunday (Sept. 25).

Cooper said she will make a trip to Little Rock once donations are closed to give the toys to Arkansas Children's Hospital.