Child pa­tient char­ity con­cludes

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Mariah Si­mank Lake Travis View

Each Christ­mas Eve since 1992, a Lake­way fam­ily has re­mem­bered their son by giv­ing back to can­cer pa­tients at Dell Chil­dren’s Med­i­cal Cen­ter of Cen­tral Texas.

Kristo­pher Med­ford died of can­cer in 1992. He spent many hours in the hospi­tal with his fam­ily, but while there over Christ­mas, he no­ticed not all chil­dren were as lucky. His last wish was for his par­ents to never for­get the sick chil­dren.

Mark and Eva Med­ford and their chil­dren, Kevin and Ian, cre­ated Kristo­pher’s Gift, a char­ity that col­lects toys and de­liv­ers them to sick chil­dren who are spend­ing Christ­mas in the hospi­tal, in or­der to ful­fill that wish.

Last year was the 20th an­niver­sary of Kristo­pher’s Gift. With the con­clu­sion of that mile­stone, the Med­fords de­cided to re­tire the project on that spe­cial note.

“It’s been 20 won­der­ful years, and not that many peo­ple still know about Kristo­pher other than through the church,” Eva Med­ford said. “We are see­ing less and less do­na­tions, and I think it’s be­cause it’s been 20 years and those kids that knew Kristo­pher have all grown up now and are rais­ing kids of their own.”

Lake Travis United Methodist Church and the Lake Travis com­mu­nity each year col­lect stuffed an­i­mals, toys and baked goods.

“Kristo­pher would see a lot of kids at the hospi­tal that didn’t have their par­ents with them, and even though he was go­ing through so much he would feel so for­tu­nate be­cause he could see how many other chil­dren didn’t have peo­ple around,” Eva Med­ford said. “He wanted to com­fort those chil­dren that might be by them­selves at times, and also pro­vide even the slight­est bit of re­lief to those who were un­der­go­ing the gru­el­ing treat­ments he, too, had faced.”

Some busi­nesses, such as the Lake­way Aquatic Ther­apy Cen­ter, col­lect par­tic­u­lar items that they know will be in high de­mand, while oth­ers fo­cus on mon­e­tary do­na­tions.

Eva Med­ford and her hus­band are grate­ful for the clo­sure they have gained through their char­ity.

“What hap­pened to Kristo­pher is some­thing that should never hap­pen, but he touched our lives in so many ways and was able to touch a lot of other peo­ple’s lives, too,” she said. “This char­ity has helped us to heal. You don’t ever for­get, but it does get eas­ier.”

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