MATTHEWS – With the help of Big Lots, a boy from Durham is giving back to the hospital where he was once a frequent patient.
On Oct. 19, Big Lots allowed 10-year-old David Love to embark on a no-limit shopping spree at its store on East Independence Boulevard. He collected approximately $2,227 worth of toys and essential items for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital – a place he knows all too well.
The Love family’s journey began when David’s older sister, Christin, was diagnosed with kidney and spinal issues. She was seen at their local children’s hospital for five years before being referred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. As this was happening, 5-year-old David began showing the same symptoms as his sister. He became a patient at NCH by the time he was seven.
Tests confirmed David was born with multicystic dysplastic kidney and tethered cord. Multicystic dysplastic kidney occurs when one kidney isn’t formed correctly in the womb, and tethered cord is when the spinal cord has very limited movement, which can develop into neurological issues as the child grows, especially if left untreated.
David had surgery to release his tethered spinal cord. Tests and scans were performed on his solitary kidney. Today, he is thriving on his baseball team. He loves watching NASCAR, playing basketball with his brother and taking walks with his family and dog.
Steve Allen, CEO of NCH, said partnering with Big Lots for the shopping spree was a no-brainer, as the retailer has been a longtime supporter of the hospital. In 2016, Big Lots and Big Lots Foundation announced a $50 million pledge to NCH to construct the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion. Scheduled to open in spring 2020, the facility will be the largest behavioral health treatment and research on a pediatric medical campus in the U.S.
“We are so grateful for the phenomenal commitment they’ve made,” Allen said.
David is one of seven NCH patients from around the country taking time to provide for others who are receiving treatment at the hospital.
“It’s amazing to see how incredibly thoughtful and generous they are,” said Lisa Bachmann, Big Lots executive vice president and chief merchandising and operating officer. “We can learn a lot from these kids who want to give back to others and are thinking about others even with everything they’ve been through themselves. It’s so heartwarming.”
Bachmann said Big Lots has hosted several shopping sprees with NCH patients over the years, including one with David’s sister, Christin.
“She kind of set the record last year. We were wondering if David was going to top his sister,” Bachmann said. “Many times, the register receipt is taller than the children.”
It was slow going at first for David, however, who seemed hesitant to really dive in. He chose his first several toys conservatively, examining each one before deciding to carefully put it in the cart. He loosened up as time went by and his parents, brothers and sisters stepped in to help. Soon, he was filling carts at a steady pace.
David said he had a lot of fun picking out the toys, which ranged from monster trucks and The Flash action figures to baby dolls, Batman watches and Bluetooth speakers. He especially liked the two Star Wars lightsabers he came across in a clearance aisle.
“That probably would have been my favorite toy I picked out,” he said.
His mother, Michelle, said that as a parent, she’s seen the difference toys and games can make for children in the hospital.
“The toys bring a lot of joy to their day,” she said. “They’re a sweet distraction and they mean more than people think they do.”