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New toy closet at TMC getting sick kids to smile

"We want to make sure that any kid who gets a needle, gets a toy"
Lizzie's Loot Toy Closet
Posted at 6:35 AM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 10:23:53-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Entering this closet at the Tucson Medical Center, 25-year-old Lizzie Bell is taken back to her childhood when she was living in the hospital.

"It was a saving grace when I was younger," Bell said.

She was diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anemia disorder, meaning her bones don't make red blood cells.

She spent the first 19 years of her life living in the hospital getting blood transfusions, but the toys at the hospital kept her spirits up.

"You're preparing to get this needle and your nurse tells you if you get this needle you get to go pick out a toy," Bell said. "I mean, I love shopping, so it was like a mini shopping spree where I got to go and look through everything and I got to pick out the one thing I wanted. It was kind of like okay if I can do this one thing, this one needle, I can get this toy."

Through out the years, Lizzie noticed sometimes there wasn't always a toy in the closet, so she wanted to change that.

Her organization, Team Lizzie Bell, toy banks in local hospital get donations to keep the shelves stocked, and that includes the new closet inside Tucson Medical Center, Lizzie Loots Toy Closet.

"It makes them so happy. It just brings such joy to a day where they probably weren't feeling joy before," Child Life Assistant Jamie Antrim said.

Lizzie's life was saved six years ago when she got a bone marrow transplant, but even though she no longer has to live in the hospital, doesn't mean other kids aren't.

"We want to make sure that any kid who gets a needle, gets a toy no matter what," Bell said.

If you'd like to donate to Team Lizzie Bell, the details here.