Caledonia boy who survived multiple brain surgeries collects toys for other children in crisis
In a Santa hat and behind the wheel of a Racine County squad car, Cody Struble of Caledonia had fun sounding the sirens to alert the community that the toys had arrived.
Since the beginning of November the 7 year old has been collecting donated toys.
He gathered nearly 2,000.
Originally his plan was to give them all to Children's Hospital. But since there are so many, hundreds will be going to the Racine County Sheriff's office who will hand them out as part of care packages when they encounter children at emergencies and crime scenes.
The idea was born out of his own crisis, having endured three brain surgeries in just two years.
"I had Cody in the emergency room before Christmas," recalls his mother Sonia Ericksen. "As we were heading home he said 'I'm glad the hospital is close for Christmas. I said that's not how it works. He said we have to do something."
This is the second year Cody has held the toy drive.
Last year, he collected a little more than 500 gifts.
This year he was assisted by Zarate Auto Sales which helped get the word out and bring the toys in.
"He's just a little kid with a big heart," declared owner Rick Zarate. "He wanted to reach out instead of worrying about himself. I think that's an awesome thing."
Cody paled around with Sheriff Christopher Schmaling who presented the little boy with a gift of his own.
"He probably doesn't know this at seven years old," Sheriff Schmaling told CBS 58 News, "But he's going to create 1,200 smiles and that's just phenomenal."