CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — A Chickamauga boy is celebrating his birthday by giving back.
He's using the occasion to make a difference in the lives of kids in the hospital.
Dalton McPherson is celebrating his 12th birthday by doing something special for kids at the Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
He was in a bad wreck when he was a little boy and was hospitalized at Erlanger. He says having toys to play with helped him get through it.
“It's very important. They saved my life and they are going to save a lot of people's lives. All of these toys are going to help those kids in the hospital get through,” McPherson told Local 3 News.
McPherson started donating toys to the hospital on his 7th birthday.
He's continued doing so every year, but this birthday is the biggest toy drive yet. He collected $2,300 worth of toys in all.
McPherson used social media to help get the word out. Community groups, schools and churches all donated. Even some Local 3 News viewers heard what was happening and got involved.
“One guy sent in this big box of hot wheels. It was practically the first thing we got so I already knew that would be a good start,” said McPherson.
“Dalton just has the ability to draw people in and when he tells his story, people just automatically want to give. He talks about these toys a lot. This was not my idea. This was Dalton’s idea,” said Dalton’s mom Kim McPherson.
The hospital needs the donations.
“The donations, especially through the holidays, are amazing. They just keep us going. They keep the children that are here in the hospital entertained. Dalton has just been fabulous year after year after year, bringing us bundles of toys. It's like, Dalton was here himself, he knows exactly what the children would like to play with while they’re here,” said Senior Child Life Specialist Lois Simpson.
McPherson says he loves giving back. He plans to continue doing just that on every birthday for years to come.