Franklin County teen battling illness looking for help to spread holiday cheer to children

Wake County News

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — A local teen battling chronic illness wants to help other kids stuck in the hospital this holiday season, but she needs help.

For the fifth year, 19-year-old Katie Haynes is holding a toy drive to benefit Duke Children’s Hospital and local Ronald McDonald Houses.

“I don’t like feeling bad for myself, like feeling pity. I want to give back and help others,” she said.

Haynes runs Smiling While Sending Hope, with the goal of bringing joy to patients in the hospital. Something close to her heart as she battles POTS, EDS Type 3, and other illnesses. 

“These illnesses are rare, so there’s no cure. There’s treatment, but it’s to stabilize you. It affects my blood pressure and heart rate,” said Haynes.

The toy drives run until December 7th and she hopes to collect at least 250 toys, books, and other items to make kids smile on Christmas morning.

She says people often forget about babies, and teens stuck in the hospital during the holiday as well.

“They are excited.  It brings them joy because they are stuck in the hospital and they didn’t think they were going to have Santa visit them,” Haynes said.

Drop off locations for the toy drive are:

  • Kindred Oaks Dentistry in Youngsville
  • Mary & Co Gifts in Youngsville
  • D’Roc Spa in Wake Forest
  • Page 158 Books in Wake Forest

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