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Las Vegas mom donates toys to hospital on late son’s birthday

Dozens of new toys were hauled into Sunrise Children’s Hospital on Saturday when a Las Vegas mom celebrated the birthday of her deceased son.

“I want to honor him on his birthday and do something good with it instead of being sad and sitting at home crying, because that’s not very productive and he wouldn’t like that,” Suzan Smith said.

Jonathan Smith, or “Jonny Fun” to his family, was 12 when he died after he was hit by a car while crossing the road at Fort Apache Road and Arby Avenue on March 25, 2019. He would have been 15 on Saturday.

As his 13th birthday was approaching, Suzan Smith said, she decided to spend the money she would have on birthday presents and donate to the hospital. She chose Sunrise because her older daughter was hospitalized there as a teenager.

“I noticed there’s not a lot for older kids here,” she said standing outside the hospital Saturday. “I did a lot of running home and bringing stuff.”

Smith posted the idea to her Facebook page and received more than $3,000 in donations in 2020. This year most people shopped online and mailed toys to her.

When Sunrise child life specialist Payton Janney came outside with a two-shelf plastic cart, Smith told her, “You’re going to need a bigger cart than that.”

Smith’s family and friends unloaded three SUVs full of baby dolls, race cars, a Blue’s Clues doctor, a rock or ride pony, and for the older kids Smith purchased speakers, headphones and adult coloring books.

Janney rejoiced when she saw the child-sized kitchen. She said all toys at Sunrise come from donations.

“This is amazing; thank you so much,” Janney said. “We are so grateful.”

Smith said her son aspired to become an engineer and provide clean drinking water to countries without access. The boy was killed just outside his southwest Las Vegas neighborhood.

“I’m sure he’s smiling down right now and just all excited about the toys that the kids are going to get,” she said.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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