This is Carolina: Colt’s Closet giving back to hospital that gave to him
COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - A young boy from Surfside Beach is making all the difference at the children's clinic in Palmetto Health Children's Hospital. After being pricked and tested all day, you could say he's giving other children a light at the end of the tunnel. While most pre-teens are consumed with friends, social media, video games and sports, this one isn't.
Colt Gallaway, 13, his younger sister, Jordyn, and mom, Whitney Gallaway, unloaded 340 toys out of the family car and into the children's hospital Wednesday. It was the third toy delivery for the family in the last year as part of Colt's Closet. It's an initiative started by Colt three years ago.
Colt said he and his family moved to South Carolina when he was 10. "When we moved, we had to find a place that did hemophilia, so we came here for our first appointment for blood work, and they said 'do you want to go to the toy closet?' And I said what's that. So they showed it and it was full of toys," Colt said of his first visit to the children's hospital in Columbia."
A hemophiliac, Colt has annual visits. During this first visit, a younger, talkative girl befriended him. He said, "When I was done with my treatment she said 'are you all done?' And I said yup. And she said 'am I going to see you tomorrow?' So that really…that really spoke to me because she has to come in a lot more than I do."
Colt's favorite nurse, Robin Jones, took him to the toy closet the first time. "And the next thing I know, I get a phone call and he's wanting to collect prizes for the prize box," Jones explained. Colt's Closet was born.
The Gallaway's said they reached out to family, friends and church members for toy donations initially. "Well, like, we just kept getting more toys and more toys and more toys…and more people contacting us donating so it just grew after that," Colt explained. "We do run low a lot of times unfortunately, but Colt bringing these in keeps us supplied for some time, which is awesome," Jones said.
Jones said the toy closet is funded by donations. Now that Colt's Closet is the main supplier, the money is able to send more kids to the hospital's Camp Kemo, and helps keep a support group going for teenagers.
"If he realized the smiles that he puts on all these kid's faces, it would surprise him, I really believe that. Because he does it just out of the goodness of his heart," Jones added.
Kids earn a visit to the toy closet after a treatment or procedures. Jones explained the size of the toy depends on the seriousness of the treatment or how many points a child has. Recently, Colt's Closet has helped supply some birthday presents for children celebrating from their hospital beds.
The Gallaway's said 550 toys were dropped off by Colt and his classmates during the first delivery last year. 500 toys were delivered last month, and 340 delivered Wednesday. The Gallaway's said the former employees of the Toys-R-Us on Mr. Joe White Avenue bought toys for Colt's Closet on the last day of business. A Myrtle Beach man the family met at a hardware store also bought the cardboard boxes for the toys to be taken to Columbia in.
Colt said he was told he could never play sports until he went to Palmetto Health Children's Hospital. His doctors and nurses have made it possible for him to live his best, happy life. "I play quarterback, wide receiver and running back most of the time," he said of what he plays on his flag football team. He's also on the basketball team.
WMBF News wants to help Colt reach his toy goal of 1,000. If you want to help, feel free to bring a toy to WMBF News for Colt's Closet.
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