TEMPLE — When Cason Bass, 4, was handed a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer coloring book and fresh box of perfectly sharpened crayons, his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.
The joy was contagious as Josiah Rentas, 11, and his younger sister, Cariel, 10, and little brother, Xavier, 8, came to McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White bearing boxes full of Christmas cheer.
Through various collection and drop-off points, the three Nolanville siblings collected 750 coloring books and more than 590 boxes of crayons during their “Colorful Christmas” drive.
“It’s just incredible to see three kids, 11 and under, spend the time to collect things to bring other children joy,” said Jaylee Hilliard, the hospital’s director of patient and family support services. “It’s humbling and heart-warming to see that kindness, compassion and selflessness are alive and well.”
Children the Rentas’ ages don’t typically do much charity work. But the Rentas children spend a lot of time in the hospital because of a rare disorder, Hermansky Pudlak Syndrome. The bleeding disorder with ocular albinism, makes them all legally blind, although they can see things up close.
Since they know firsthand how it feels to be confined to a hospital bed, unable to go to the playground or even get up from their beds, they said they know coloring can help pass the time.
“I still can’t believe we accomplished this,” said Cariel, as she wheeled a red wagon full of coloring books into the main lobby. “I feel like this is a dream.”
Older brother Josiah was nearly speechless at what they were able to accomplish.
“I didn’t think we would have gotten this much stuff, but now I know we can do anything we set our minds to,” he said. “It’s really
cool to see how our idea took shape.”
Hilliard said hospital staff was working feverishly to get patients discharged so they could spend Christmas at home.
Tabitha Fehnel, 7, got the green light to go home on Christmas Eve.
“I can’t wait to open presents at home tomorrow,” she said as she colored in her new Doc McStuffins coloring book. “I’m ready to go home and see the rest of my family.”
Several other patients, including Cason and Tyler Griffith, 3, will get to go home this morning.
“This is such a sweet gesture,” said Tyler’s mom, Elizabeth Griffith. “We really appreciate this.”