A group of Stony Brook University student-athletes, dance-team members and cheerleaders set out to bring joy to patients being treated in the Pediatric Wing of the Stony Brook Cancer Center.
They went on a holiday season mission to “stuff” a bus from Athletics with toys of all kinds and deliver the donated items directly to the children. Now in its third year, the Stuff-A-Bus toy drive has become a Seawolves tradition.
With more than 250 toys donated by Stony Brook University faculty and staff, this year’s toy drive was the most successful to date.
The volunteers delivered the toys and gifts, including dolls, board games, coloring sets and footballs, on December 16. “When we first walked into the hospital, I couldn’t get over how happy and thankful the people were,” said Jane Clark, a freshman on the Cross Country/Track team. “ I had no idea we would really make that much of a difference, and all it took was just giving them our time. Sometimes all it takes to be happy is to give love and happiness to others.”
The pediatric patients, along with their siblings, beamed with delight when the unexpected delivery came. Playing the role of Santa was Wolfie, of course, who helped distribute the gifts.
A couple of the student-athletes visited with a teenager who was receiving chemotherapy while others helped the children open the presents.
The event was a welcome break from studies and training for the students, who basked in the joy of the children as they saw the gifts placed under the Christmas tree in the playroom. “We were nervous about the timing since this is finals week and the only date that worked for the Cancer Center, but we had an overwhelming number of volunteers who wanted to be a part of this special day,” said Chris Murray, director of athletic marketing and organizer of the Stuff-A-Bus event.