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Swanton family raising awareness for CHD, collecting toys for children's hospitals

Caden Laney was born with a congenital heart defect. He and his mom, along with Conquering CHD Ohio, are collecting toys for three local children's hospitals.

SWANTON, Ohio — A Swanton family with a cause close to its heart teamed up with a local store on Small Business Saturday to collect toys for local children's hospitals.

Caden Laney was born with a congenital heart defect. Last year, the 11-year-old chose to collect toys for others as part of Conquering CHD of Northwest Ohio for local hospitals instead of getting presents for himself for Christmas. 

"Knowing they are there for me really helps," said Caden, when talking about Conquering CHD.

Caden is helping his mom collect as many toys as possible for the kids at three local children's hospitals: ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children's Hospital, Mercy Children's Hospital and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. He and his mom, Tanya, want to raise more awareness for CHD families.

"One in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect," said Tanya. "So what that means usually, is long stays at a hospital."

Tanya knows those stays all too well. Conquering CHD has been the best support system she could ever ask for.

"Having other parents to talk to who just knew how you felt without even saying it really helped," said Tanya.

This year, they have six drop-off bins, including one at The Posh Pallet Boutique in Swanton. Owner Tara Shaver used to be a pediatric nurse and says she wanted to use the extra business on Small Business Saturday to help out.

"It makes it nice because I have a little bit of a different way that I can give back," said Shaver, "not just to our community but to other kids."

Last year Caden and his mom, collected 1700 toys. This year, they're hoping for more. The relief they say it gives to the kids and parents is priceless.

"It's the five minutes they get that toy, they're just kids," said Tanya. "They're not in the hospital. They don't have wires, they don't have IVs, they're just kids."

Caden says knowing people are getting together and doing this for the kids means so much to them.

"Not just someone, but lots of people, including the hospitals are doing this for them," said Caden. "I hope that makes them feel like they are noticed."

Items are being collected until Dec. 8 at the locations below. You can also purchase and ship toys online through their Amazon wish list (click here).

Finally, you can also email Tanya at Tanya.Laney@icloud.com or call 440-668-9628 for pickup in the Toledo area.

Credit: wtol