This is Carolina: Joy for others continues 6-year toy tradition at children’s hospital

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - He hasn’t won two awards given by the White House for nothing.

Two presidential service awards from two different presidents sit in Colt Galloway’s home. You may remember him, he was among the first of ‘This is Carolina’ good news stories three years ago. His good work continues, so he’s back in the spotlight again.

“I don’t think he realizes the smiles he puts on these kids’ faces. It would surprise him. I really believe that. Because he just does it out of the goodness of his heart,” Whitney Galloway said of her son, Colt, in 2018.

The statement remains true today, although Colt is now 16 years old and a junior in high school.

“We’re not in it to put our name out there. But we are in it for those mamas, and for me thinking about, as a mama, how I would feel that my baby could go to a closet and get a toy or a stuffed animal or something to bring them some comfort in that time. It really does something for a mama’s heart,” Galloway said of her son’s efforts.

She has spearheaded Colt’s Closet for six years with her son. He started it when he was 10, and a patient in the children’s hospital himself.

“Just being a kid that’s gotten a toy from that closet in the hospital, I know how much joy it brought me after having a pretty bad day with all the needles and stuff like that and the IVs. So for kids younger than me now, it just really, I understand where they’re coming from and where they’re at right now. So I just want to help them, as best I can, to have a better day,” Colt said.

When WMBF first met him in 2018 during a toy delivery at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia, the Galloways were dropping off almost 400 toys that had been donated for the kids. Just recently they did their largest delivery yet at 640 toys. They had to rent a U-Haul to get it all to the hospital.

Colt said the nurses were stunned.

“I mean, every time we come they’re all excited. There’s nurses that know us. They all know, about us, in the center and when they hear we’re coming they’re all super excited and they come in there screaming and yelling and shouting and happy because they see all the toys and they see all the toys come in the hospital and they’re just excited to see that,” Colt said.

Colt has been going to the children’s hospital annually for years. He has hemophilia and requires an annual check-up.

He said one time during treatment he met a friend. That friend asked if he’d be back the next day. At that moment he said he realized he was lucky to only have to come once a year. Thus, Colt’s Closet began.

Since then, the Galloways have raised money for a bigger, new and improved closet. They’ve also raised enough money and toys over the years to fill it with about 6,500 toys.

The toys are given every time a child finishes a treatment. With each toy costing about $15, almost $100,000 in toys has been donated for sick kids.

It makes Colt proud. He remembers when he first started Colt’s Closet.

“I didn’t think that far into the future about it. I was just like OK, we can do this, I guess. And so now it feels good to finally do it for six years and still have it going. I do it and I still have the want to do it. And just seeing those kids’ faces when we go to the hospital. We can’t go see them because of HIPAA laws, but to see them walk through and just having your treatment and stuff like that is just something you have to see, it helps boost your confidence with why you want to do it, he said.”

Colt said he plans to hit his goal of 10,000 toys. He plans to hit it by high school graduation in 2023.

If you’d like to help the Galloways spread joy, you can find Colt’s Closet’s Amazon wish list.

All monetary donations are handled by the Galloways church to buy toys.

They also partner with local businesses for toy drives.

CLICK HERE to get more information on Colt’s Closet.

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