ABINGDON, Md. - On her seventh birthday, Grace Callwood went to the doctor with an enlarged lymph node behind her ear.
Multiple surgeries followed after specialists detected cancer in her lymphs and bone marrow, and the months of procedures, which followed carried few bright spots except for the toys.
"When I get a spinal tap... when I go into the room, they always have a bunch of toys on the bed that I go on to," explained the second grader at William S. James Elementary School in Abingdon.
The more trips she made to the hospital, the more toys she received, and Grace’s mother says she ultimately decided she could donate some of them to other children less fortunate than herself.
"This was actually all her idea,” said T’Jae Gibson, “She's always had a heart of gold and she has a soft spot for sick kids, foster kids and homeless children in particular."
Grace and her mother took the toys to the Harford Family House in Aberdeen, which provides needy families with a place to call ‘home’.
Among the three huge boxes, Executive Director Joyce Duffy was most touched by a tea set, which Grace had received a few weeks ago during her Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World.
"(Her mother) said, 'Oh, this is the tea set she got at Disney and I was like, 'Wow.' That was such a special trip for her and that she would even consider giving away something that she received on that trip was... I'm choking up. I'm sorry... it was just amazing to me."
"We went to the Disney trip for Make-a-Wish and they told us that every morning... there was a gift fairy and she would come every morning,” said Grace, “and when we got there, there were gifts on the table and so I only kept a few of them, but most of them I gave away because we didn't know what to do with them and we didn't think I was going to use them."
"So now you're kind of the gift fairy?"
"For all these other people?"
"That's got to make you feel good."
She smiled and nodded approvingly.
And now the same mother who has shed countless tears over Grace’s battle with cancer can spare a few for her daughter’s selfless mission of love.
"I'm extremely proud of Gracey. My daughter's an awesome teacher. She teaches me so much."
*Grace’s cancer is in remission and if everything goes as planned, her chemotherapy treatments will wrap up next year.
We’re told the Harford Family House has just accepted eight new families and their children will benefit from her generosity.
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