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Last Christmas, the fireplace at the Lynes' home was covered in gifts, spilling onto the floor and across their living room. There were dolls, remote control cars, video games and so much more. No, these gifts were not all for 7-year-old twins Brody and Brooklyn Lynes; they were for the patients and siblings at Cook Children's.
Darenda and Kaleb Lynes began collecting presents for Cook Children's three years ago, as a community project with their church life group. They got their twins, Brody and Brooklyn, involved and the effort quickly became a family tradition.
In 2015, Brody and Brooklyn invited their entire second grade class to participate in the toy collection. Their teacher encouraged the students to do a chore to earn money, and then purchase the toy with that money. With the help of the second grade class, the family collected even more gifts for Cook Children's patients and their siblings.
The Lynes family never guessed they would be on the receiving end of generosity at Cook Children's just two months later.
Soon after the family learned Brody had epilepsy, Kaleb was home one afternoon with Brody who was not feeling well. Darenda and Brooklyn were away at a cheerleading competition. Kaleb just had a feeling something wasn't right.
Kaleb took Brody to Cook Children's Urgent Care Clinic in Mansfield. They sent them to the Emergency Department at Cook Children's Medical Center downtown to receive fluids for dehydration.
Brody's condition then began to quickly worsen. His blood pressure was dropping and his kidneys were failing. He was immediately admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Within a matter of days, the Lynes' world had been turned upside down. First an epilepsy diagnosis and now this.
After nearly losing their son, they learned the diagnosis. Brody had a staph infection from a knee scrape when he had fallen in his grandparents' driveway two days before. Brody spent nine days at Cook Children's recovering from the infection.
During that time he received a prayer bear, book and a superhero pillowcase that he still uses every night. A nurse also brought a gaming system to his room and, when he was playing with it, his parents said it was the only time that he "came to life" during his stay. All of these "extras" are made possible by thoughtful donors, just like the Lynes family. Generosity had come full circle.
"We love this place. We couldn't have asked for better people to take care of Brody and to take care of us while we were here," said Darenda of their experience at Cook Children's.
Cook Children's is equally as grateful to the Lynes Family and how they are caring for our patients through their holiday toy collection.
Your generosity does not go unnoticed by others. It is emulated by those who realize its value to the community. It is revered by those who care for our patients because it enables them to do what they do best. And it is appreciated by every patient and every family who benefits from it.
Thank you from each family, patient, nurse, physician and staff member whose life you will have touched with your generosity.