"Monkeying Around With Max" donated 200 stuffed animals to patients at Children's Hospital.


A little boy named Max was diagnosed with a brain tumor and treated at Children's Hospital. Some people stepped in to help defray costs for the Hurst family.

Starting this fall, they sold stuffed animals called Marble the Monkey as part of a project through their employer, Avon.

Those who bought a monkey could either keep it or donate it to patients at Children's Hospital.

Friday, "Monkeying Around With Max" came full circle.

A little boy named Max started his day in the lobby of Children's Hospital along with 200 monkeys. Well, stuffed monkeys that had been donated as part of a fundraiser for Max's family.

"Today we get the exciting part of the fundraiser and we get to distribute the monkeys to some of the children here at Children's Hospital. We're so excited. We feel like Santa Claus today," Susan Byrd said.

Robin Strickland said, "I should have worn my Santa hat."

Santa's helpers were led by Susan Byrd and Robin Strickland. They gave Max's family an envelope with more than $1,200 in donations.

"It's a huge weight lifted off our shoulders to have a little extra money when things get tight so it's been a blessing. We're so grateful to them for doing this," Max's mother Jessica Hurst said.

Then the monkey mission began.

Susan Byrd knew what to expect. "I hope smiles. Lots of smiles!" she said.

Oh, they saw plenty of smiles.

They wheeled a cart full of monkeys down the halls and through the doors. It was a parade of monkeys, presents for patients.

Susan and Robin and some of their friends gave monkey after monkey to children in the hospital.

Jessica helped out with handing out the stuffed animals. she and her husband have spent a lot of time at Children's Hospital with Max. They understand what other families are going through.

"We know how it is to be here for a long period of time and it's not exciting, especially around the holidays, I can't imagine," she said.

Robin said, "They're in the hospital and some of them will be here for Christmas Day and that's sad but maybe this will bring a little joy for them."

"Monkeying Around With Max" brought them joy today and through the Christmas season.

Robin said, "To see the kids' faces when they get the monkeys... I mean they're adorable. Wouldn't you like to get one if you were in the hospital. It's been really fun."

Even more fun than a barrel of monkeys.