Katharine's Wish toy drive helps put smiles on kids' faces durin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Katharine's Wish toy drive helps put smiles on kids' faces during hospital stays

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Providing a gift that keeps giving year after year is the goal of an Eau Claire teen trying to help children during the scariest of times.

Katharine Rhoten started Katharine's Wish after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. Every time she was poked with a needle or had any other procedure, she was given a stuffed animal to comfort and distract her.

Now, every year, her charity holds a toy donation drive. Since 2008, she has collected more than 20 thousand new toys and stuffed animals to distribute to children in hospitals in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"If you know a child who is suffering or in pain, why wouldn't you try and help that and try to take their mind off of the suffering?" Rhoten said. "They are just kids. We are supposed to have fun. A hospital isn't necessarily a kid's playground, however you can make it more enjoyable and more happy for them."

You can donate a new toy at any Gordy's Market location now through December 9, or make a monetary donation here.

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