Spreading Smiles Through Gift of Toys Helps Mom Share Son’s Story


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Video Description

A smile came to Monique Yarbrough’s face when she saw her son’s favorite Curious George book on sale at Kohl’s.

Her son, Griffin, died of cancer at age 6 in 2005. When Mrs. Yarbrough saw the book, she felt compelled to buy some for patients at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. Her generosity quickly snowballed into an avalanche of donations as people heard of her project on the Official McKinney Moms Facebook page. Soon, Mrs. Yarbrough’s living room was overflowing with more than 500 copies of the books and more than 500 Curious George stuffed animals to go with them. The McKinney mom had enough for every patient at Children’s.

Mrs. Yarbrough, her husband and two children brought the donation to the hospital the Wednesday before Christmas in bins overflowing with the stuffed animals and hearts full of the bittersweet memory that Griffin wanted to be remembered.

“He said, ‘Mom, please tell people about a boy named Griffin who was brave and strong and who did everything he could to fight the bad guy,’ ” Mrs. Yarbrough recalled. “So when I saw these books, I knew that was the way to tell people about my son Griffin.”

Each copy of Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory had a sticker with Griffin’s drawing of Christmas trees and presents and the words “Merry Christmas Love Griffin” in the boy’s handwriting.

Mrs. Yarbrough presented one of the books and stuffed animals to Angela Hock and her 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Lizzy, a patient in oncology.

Mrs. Hock read the book to her daughter in her hospital bed as Mrs. Yarbrough smiled warmly and wiped away tears.

“It pulled at my heartstrings so much, but it also gave me so much joy,” she said. “If that mom and little Lizzy can enjoy the book as much as Griffin and I did, it just means the world to me.”

Her intended ripple effect has already started helping. Mrs. Yarbrough and her friends bought the stuffed animals from the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise line, for which 100 percent of the net profit benefits a local children’s health initiative. At Children’s Health, the Kohl’s Play Well Stay Well program is designed to educate children and their families on how to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, and how to stay safe while doing it.

Mrs. Yarbrough and her supporters gave back to Children’s Health. You can match their generosity in this season of giving by making a donation to Children’s Medical Center Foundation by visiting here.

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