AURORA, Colo. — They call it their favorite day of the year at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Hundreds of police officers and sheriff’s deputies from across the state delivered toys to the patients who are spending the holidays in the hospital.
This was the 16 year for the “Long Blue Line Toy Drive,” organized by “Cops Fighting Cancer.” It’s a non-profit organization that provides support to cancer patients and their families.
This was started by Aurora Police Officer James Seneca who is a cancer survivor himself. He said it’s his way of giving back to all the people who supported him. “It’s been 31 years, but it feels like yesterday. You never forget a horrific experience like that. God has a plan for me many years later. Just changing lives, giving support, giving them hope when they are dangling on a string.”
Tayler Ellison is the ambassador for this year’s toy drive. She has battled cancer twice, and has spent 200 days in Children’s hospital this year. She said, “I just finished chemo last week.”
She gets to go home for the holidays, but she knows many of her friends at the hospital won’t get to do the same. Her father, Shane Ellison is an Aurora police officer. He has volunteered for this event many times over the past nine years, but this year is especially meaningful. He said, “I spent a lot of nights here pacing back and forth by myself. It’s amazing to see how much support is out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The officers went from room to room, delivering toys, but they bring so much more. Officer Seneca said, “It’s giving them hope, inspiration. It’s cheering them up. They look up to us as their role models and heroes.”
Aurora Police Chief, Nick Metz said, “Our officers see so many negative things. I think anytime kids are involved, that’s where our hearts get tugged. To hear cops talk about the kids’ faces pressed against the windows, it’s pretty cool for them to see and think this is going to make a difference today.”
The officers have been collecting toys for the past several weeks. They delivered more than 3,000 toys to 250 patients Thursday.