JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - One of Ochsner Medical Center's youngest but arguably strongest patients filled the stockings and hearts of others Thursday.
Annabelle Thomas, 6, and her family packed a 12-foot enclosed trailer with gifts for families at the hospital's child oncology center.
"I could make it better," Annabelle said.
Two years ago, Annabelle was diagnosed with Leukemia. Her mother said Annabelle came up with the idea of bringing toys to children at the hospital this October.
"The night before treatment Annabelle was cleaning her room and she started putting some stuff in a bag. I asked her what she was doing and she said I'm going to bring some of my toys to Ochsner. I told her well let's not bring your toys, but if you'd like to do something like that, let's see if we can have a gift drive," Victoria Thomas said. "It was unbelievable. It surpassed all expectations."
The family posted information about the toy drive online, and it inspired people in Terrebonne Parish to make hundreds of toy, cash and gift card donations.
"They're going to be so happy," Annabelle said.
The hospital rooms are all too familiar to Annabelle. She spent the holidays getting treatment at Ochsner Hospital for Children on Jefferson Highway two years ago after her diagnosis.
"It was hard not to be with my family," Annabelle said.
But family members admit it has been Annabelle's strength that has carried them through this process.
In fact, minutes before delivering gifts, she received her monthly chemotherapy treatment.
"We did treatment first and then we crossed the street and brought all the toys up to the fourth floor," Annabelle's father Doug Thomas said. "The amount of medication she takes every morning. It's a 15-minute process on Fridays because so many tubes of medicine and pills and stuff she's got to takes. She never whines or complains."
Annabelle will finish her chemotherapy treatments in March.