FOLCROFT, Pa - Toy after toy, box after box, a Lehigh County family and their friends worked for hours Sunday to pack and load more than 24,000 toys, carrying out the mission and legacy of 5-year-old Jillian Massey.
"She's looking down and she's so happy," said Jessica Denner, Jillian's nurse at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Denner took care of Jillian when she was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 2016. Jillian passed away earlier this month and while the cancer took her life, it certainly did not take her spirit.
"This is more than what she expected, I'm sure, she's beaming with pride," said Denner.
Beaming with pride as her family and friends count and box the toys collected for the second annual Sassy Massey toy drive, an event Jillian started last year. She originally asked for 50 to 100 toys and got 3,000. So, this year she upped the goal to 10,000.
When she passed away, that mark hadn't been hit but the grand total counted on Sunday, more than doubling it at 24,633 toys.
"It warms my heart, I'm overwhelmed by it to be honest with you," said Jeff Tyler, President of Tyler Transport Solutions.
Tyler is a family friend of the Masseys. He says he expects to fill 12 of his box trucks with all of the toys, something the family says they know Jillian is ecstatic about.
"I think she's dancing up there having a major party watching all these people come out and opening all these boxes, "said Janelle Massey, Jillian's mother.
The toys will be distributed between ten hospitals - including CHOP where Jillian spent a lot of her time and Lehigh Valley Hospital, with the hope of bringing smiles to the kids who need them most.
"The smallest toy means everything to them, it will make their Christmas," said Denner.
24,633 toys, a true testament to the power of a community and the vision of its sassy CEO who will no doubt continue to oversee the operation from up above.
"She would say get back in the truck, if it's 20,000 she'd ask for 40,000 with a big smile on her face," said Tyler.
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