In February 2002 Patrick Droney was 9 and in the hospital, undergoing a blood plasma infusion for Von Willebrand syndrome—an inherited blood-clotting disorder. “I was like, ‘There’s no toys here,'” recalls Patrick, now 13. “There was this little girl with terminal brain cancer looking for them.” With his July 24 birthday coming up, Patrick and sister Josephine—15 and also born with Von Willebrand—hatched a plan: Throw a “birthday” party and ask guests to bring toys, not for Patrick but for the hospital. About 150 people turned out at the Droneys’ Lancaster, Pa., home with $4,000 in stuffed animals, electronic gadgets and other gifts.
The Droneys have raised more than $26,000 in cash and toys for such groups as the National Hemophilia Foundation and the Shelby Richter Fund, named for an Absecon, N.J., girl who died of sarcoma at 13. Says Shelby’s mother, Charlene Ruark: “They’ve already done more than many people do their entire lives.” Their condition controlled by medication, Patrick and Josephine are pretty typical kids. “If anyone can teach Patrick to clean his room,” says mom Christine, “I’d appreciate it.”
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