Kingston Youth’s Project Will Help Ailing Kids This Christmas

December 23, 2018
Kingston Youth’s Project Will Help Ailing Kids This Christmas

KINGSTON — Peyton Rusyn knows what it’s like to spend weeks in a hospital while you’re a kid.

She wants to help other children in that situation.

When she was 7 years old, Peyton was hospitalized for more than three weeks after a car crash.

She spent part of that time in a coma, but when she woke up, keeping her occupied was very important.

The books, movies and games she used didn’t just dispel boredom. They also helped her recover while she was confined to a room, said her mother, Julie Dowling.

Now Peyton, 12, and Dowling, of Kingston, are organizing a toy drive to donate gifts to two local hospitals. They call it “Peyton’s Payback.”

They have collected more than 150 items this year they plan to deliver Christmas Eve to hospitals and care facilities in the region. Their goal is to make the gift-giving larger each year.

The car crash that hospitalized Peyton five years ago was a shock.

Part of what helped her survive and recover was equipment and services donated by the Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger. She later became a “Miracle Kid” to share her story.

She still has a stuffed animal from her stay, a reminder of what she went through and how she has recovered.

Anytime a hospitalized child can be made to feel that their situation isn’t so scary, that’s a good thing, said Mike McMullen, communications specialist for Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger.

“The more relaxed, calm and happy kids are, the better outcomes they have,” he said.

And parents can have more peace of mind knowing their sick or injured child or a sibling will have a toy or game to play with, Dowling said.

“If people had not been donating before it happened to us, we wouldn’t have been able to have the things we had while we stayed there,” Dowling said. “She and I and our whole family was grateful we had that, so this is something we chose to start around Christmas.”

Peyton’s Payback has collected toys and games for babies, toddlers and older children. Dolls, Legos, toy cars and stuffed animals have collected in the basement of her Kingston home ahead of delivery to hospitals and into the hands of kids who can use them.

“I’m hoping that they get a big smile on their face and I just hope that they’re happy,” Peyton said.

Contact the writer:


570-821-2051, @CVBillW

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