How This Scout Collected $15,000 in Toys for Kids Battling Cancer

Scouts load boxes of toys for Comer Children’s Hospital. (Photo credit: Michele Fortuna / HANDOUT)

Whether directly or indirectly, the effects of cancer touch the lives of millions of Americans across the country. For Scout Zach F., of the Pathway to Adventure Council, he’s witnessed the hardships and pain of cancer through his cousin, Chris, who’s currently battling against neuroblastoma at just 6-years-old.

Impassioned to ease the struggles of his cousin and other children battling cancer like him, Eagle Scout candidate Zach decided to spearhead a project that would bring some much-needed joy to patients at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago – the same hospital his young cousin is undergoing treatment.

What began as an idea, quickly grew to become a wildly successful toy drive in which Zach collected $15,000 in toys from local businesses and community members.

“I’ve seen how happy it makes the children to get toys,” shared Zach to the Chicago Tribune. “It lifts their spirits. It makes their treatment easier.”

Zach began the project in March with an ambitious goal in mind – he wanted to gather enough toys to fill a 10-foot-long truck.

“I was amazed by the generosity of people,” said the Scout.

The Eagle-candidate achieved his goal after putting in long hours of hard work marketing his project, placing fliers and boxes at local stores, libraries and community centers across town.

“It’s been fun. But it has been a lot of work,” he said. “I’ve put in 275 hours into this since March.”

But the Scout didn’t complete the project alone – he enlisted the help of Scouts from his troop to sort and deliver the toys, too.

“I’ve learned about the generosity of people and about leadership skills,” he said. “I’ve learned what it takes to be a leader. You have to think on your feet and have a back-up plan.”

Zach’s aunt, Danielle, was nearly speechless when asked about the impact of Zach’s project on her family and expressed her greatest appreciation for his thoughtful service.

“We are all just blown away by his efforts and by how eagerly and willingly people gave,” she said.

Danielle says Zach’s project will help brighten the lives of the children battling cancer, reminding them their lives are not all about hospital visits and medical treatment.

“Zach understands first-hand how important it is for them to have some sense of normalcy in their lives,” explained Danielle.

“This was a very personal project for him,” she said.

Learn more about how this Eagle Scout candidate was inspired to spread joy to cancer patients in his community by reading the full story from the Chicago Tribune.


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Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at