SPRINGFIELD — Ben Manzi knows what it’s like to be in the hospital — he was diagnosed with leukemia at 6 years old, and is now 9.
That’s why last year, Ben, along with his mom, formed Team BAM! and began a toy drive to help young patients in Baystate Children’s Hospital to, as he says, “help all the kids feel better.” The purpose of Team BAM! is to organize various fundraisers and drives that will benefit local children who have cancer, as well as support research on childhood leukemia.
This year, he held another toy drive in September, which was Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. He and his family got the word out and collected toys with the goal of beating last year’s 1,232 toys. His goal was crushed by collecting more than 1,400 toys, games, books, and arts and crafts, including $500 in gift cards and cash donations. Manzi and Team BAM! will deliver the toys to the Daly lobby at Baystate Medical Center today, Oct. 12, at 3:30 p.m.
“I’m really happy that we made it past my goal,” Manzi said. “I sure hope all these toys can bring some joy to the kids at Baystate Children’s Hospital.”