DENVER, Colo. - This season of giving is bittersweet for Daniel Alvarado after losing his brother Diego last year.
“Seeing Diego in pain just made me wonder, 'is that really what all these kids are going through? Do these kids really have to stay here over the holidays?' And I just thought that they should deserve a little smile and deserve that ray of sunshine in their life,” said Alvarado.
Eight years ago Diego was diagnosed with Leukemia, and despite his pain he and his brother began collecting toys for the Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Diego may be gone, but in an act of brotherly love Daniel is continuing to collect toys for their nonprofit group Cancer Fighters to the Rescue.
“I thought maybe these kids that have cancer should be able to celebrate Christmas like we do, so I thought maybe giving them a toy would help them have a smile over the holidays,” said Alvarado.
This year more than 3,000 toys were donated in Diego’s honor. In the past eight years, they’ve collected more than 10,000 toys.
“It’s a sad feeling in a way, but it’s still a pretty happy day otherwise,” said Alvarado.
Children Hospital Colorado will use the toys to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, and holidays throughout the year.
Hospital specialists say these toys are a very important part of the healing process because they help take patients’ minds off the sicknesses.
For parents Ruth Gonzalez and Ivan Alvarado, Daniel's dedication to his brother couldn't make them prouder.
“It’s really awesome that he has this strength, and I had to look at that strength and my other son’s strength to keep moving too. So instead of me teaching him a lesson, he’s teaching me one,” said Gonzalez.
They hope every toy will remind or teach someone about Daniel and his brave outlook on life.
Diego's motto was never give up and keep trying, and his family hopes everyone who sees his story remembers that message.