A young boy with ties to Airdrie will once again provide toys to children spending the holiday season in the hospital.
Six-year-old Ty Grycan, whose family previously lived in Airdrie but moved to St. Albert three years ago, will be collecting toy donations for children staying at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. According to Tricia Tuchscherer, Grycan’s mother, the family started ‘Ty’s Toy Drive’ last year, after Grycan underwent his fourth open-heart surgery.
“This year, after his sixth open-heart surgery, he decided he wanted to do it again,” she said. “I think he’s got a little more of an understanding of what he’s doing this year.”
In its inaugural year, Tuchscherer said the toy drive was a huge success, managing to collect two truckloads of toys.
“I think there were 21 boxes and we got them into two half-tons [trucks], so it was really good,” she said. “It’s just nice to see everyone is still willing to give, and cares.”
Tuchscherer said her son knows firsthand what it is like to have to spend significant time in the hospital, as he is diagnosed with a rare heart defect called subaortic stenosis. According to the Children’s Heart Institute, the condition obstructs or narrows the outlet of the heart’s left ventricle, which can restrict blood flow or damage the aortic valve.
“He’s doing really good right now,” Tuchscherer said. “There will most likely be more surgeries. Whether they’re open-heart or not, we’re not sure, but we definitely know there will be more upcoming surgeries for Ty. It’s not something that goes away and will be something he deals with for the rest of his life.”
While the toy drive will be taking place in St. Albert, there are still a few ways for Airdrie residents to contribute. Tuchscherer said toy donations will be collected locally on Grycan’s behalf Nov. 22, while monetary donations can be submitted as well.
In terms of which toys people should donate, Tuchscherer said anything is appreciated, though it has to be new and packaged. She added they currently lack toys for babies, young toddlers and teenagers.
“[Teenagers] are harder to buy for, but any kind of electronics, earphones, gift cards so they can watch movies and stuff,” she said.
Tuchscherer said she wants to thank everyone who has supported the toy drive both last year and this year, particularly given the difficult situations many local families are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
“I think it’s just awesome to see people have such big hearts right now and last year – that they care about the kids that are in the Stollery [Children’s Hospital] and they care enough to give to Ty, even if they don’t know him,” she said. “To me, that’s amazing. It’s great to see people are still so willing to give.”
According to Tuchscherer, the family will be collecting toy donations until Nov. 25. For more information, visit facebook.com/tystoydrive