NOLANVILLE — Children ranging from 8 years old to 11 don’t typically spend a lot of time doing charity work. They aren’t typically blind, either.
But that’s exactly the case for three siblings in Nolanville: Josiah Rentas, 11, and his younger sister Cariel, 10, and little brother Xavier, 8.
The trio wants to ensure patients at McLane Children’s Scott & White Hospital in Temple have a more cheerful Christmas this year.
The Rentas’ children spend a lot of their own time in the hospital due to a rare disorder, Hermansky Pudlak Syndrome, or HPS. It is a bleeding disorder with ocular albinism, making them all legally blind.
Since they know firsthand how it feels to be confined to a hospital bed, hooked up to various monitors and being unable to go to the playroom or even get up from their bed, they said coloring helps them forget where they are and pass the time.
“With Christmas around the corner, our kids wanted to give back and make a difference in an area they are familiar with and that’s when the idea to collect coloring books and crayons was born,” said their mother, Lyzzette Rentas, about their drive dubbed “A Colorful Christmas.”
Along with drop-off points at Five Below in Market Heights and Fountain of Beauty Salon and Spa in Temple, the family is ac-
cepting donations from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 14 at their home, 306 Oak Ridge Drive, in Nolanville.
“I love all types of art, but my favorite is coloring and sketching,” Josiah said.
“Toys get old fast, but a coloring book keeps you entertained for longer and you can be more creative. It’s also comforting and relaxing.”
The three siblings can see things close up but not at a distance.
Cariel said she focuses on staying in the lines and bringing the pages to life rather than why she is in the hospital.
“It’s a nice way to forget that you are hooked up to a machine,” Cariel said. “When I am coloring, I can pretend that I am coloring at home instead of all the shots, needles and IVs I’m getting.”
Because of their condition, they can’t just be carefree kids.
“We have to be really careful when we play and we can’t play sports like football or baseball because our platelets don’t work and we bruise really easy,” Josiah said.
“To stop the bleeding, we need to get platelet transfusions so we have to be really careful when we are playing.”
During a one-year time period Josiah had to have eight blood transfusions, and even the smallest scrape can mean disaster with a lengthy hospital stay, Lyzzette Rentas said.
Despite their uncertain future with HPS, all three Rentas children said they have a lot to be thankful for.
“I’m thankful that I’m able to help others through ‘A Colorful Christmas,’” Josiah said.
“I’m thankful I can eat and celebrate the holiday at home with my family,” Xavier said. “I know there are other kids out there who are not as lucky.”
“I’m thankful for my parents who always bring us to the doctors,” Cariel said.
Despite her children’s disorder, Lyzzette Rentas said they are always eager to give back and help others.
“I’ve always told my kids that just because your have HPS doesn’t mean it should stop you from reaching your goals,” she said.
“I also told them that you don’t have to do something big to make an impact. Collecting these coloring books and crayons will mean a lot to the kids who won’t be able to wake up on Christmas morning in their own houses.”