One Nebraska family turns a tragedy into a sweet memorial

Toy donations for kids in the hospital

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)- The Brestel family lost their son to cancer nearly two decades ago.  For the last 17 years, they have collected toys and delivered them to both hospitals their son Josh was treated.

“He loved birthday parties, and so it was our way to still celebrate him and keep his memory alive for everybody. We know how he felt when he was stuck at a hospital for a month at a time, and someone would bring him something. It just brightened his day, so it’s just a little bit of us giving back,” said Diane Brestel Josh’s mother.

December 13th is Josh’s birthday, and Children’s Hospital in Omaha, as well as St. Elizabeth in Lincoln each, received over 1,000 toys in his honor.

“These gifts are given to children in need throughout the year, not just at Christmas time, in two areas here at the hospital, the pediatric place our pediatric emergency room, and also our short stay where they come for surgery,” said Derek Vance President of CHI St. Elizabeth.

The Brestel family advertises this event on Diane’s Facebook page at the beginning of December to ask for donations.

“We put labels on all of the toys with his caring bridge page, I kind of keep it up for that. I get messages from throughout the year from people who get on there and read and thank us and everything, so yeah it’s nice to hear back,” said Diane Brestel.

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