‘He would have been ecstatic’
Memory of Centreville boy Jacob Stern lives on through toy drive in support of Salvation Army
The memory of a Centreville boy who touched the hearts of countless people through his brave battle against cancer is being honoured again this year with a toy drive named after him.
Four-year-old Jacob Stern passed away in October 2016 after a courageous fight against a rare form of muscle cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma. He was only 15 months old when he was diagnosed.
Judy Benjamin, Jacob’s grandmother, said he was a “real trooper” considering everything that he went through. The family now holds an annual toy drive to give back to the community that helped them so much during his ordeal. They want to help ensure that children from less fortunate families have smiles on their faces on Christmas morning.
This year’s toy drive takes place at Walmart in New Minas on Dec. 1 from 1-5 p.m. Drop off locations include 415 Stead St., Kentville; RE/MAX Advantage, 17 Webster Ct., Kentville, and Forbes Kia, 5488 Prospect Rd., New Minas.
Benjamin said Jacob would have loved the toy drive and he would have loved knowing that, because of him, there will be many more boys and girls with gifts under the tree to unwrap. After all, he loved Christmas and the various toys and gifts that he received from so many different people.
“I think he would have been ecstatic,” Benjamin said. “I’m positive that he’s going to be with us that day.”
All proceeds go toward supporting the Salvation Army in its effort to provide toys to kids in need at Christmas time. The Salvation Army and other area churches work together toward this goal, last year providing gifts to 621 children.
Benjamin said the toy drive is a way for them to pay forward the support the Salvation Army provided to Melissa Benjamin, Jacob’s mom, while Jacob was battling cancer.
Benjamin said people can support the toy drive by purchasing toys and dropping them off or by making cash donations. She said they’ve already raised about $780 through the sale of prize calendars and they’ll be selling 50-50 tickets on the day of the toy drive with the draw being held at the end.
Jacob Stern’s sister, Maddie Stern, and his mom, Melissa Benjamin, show off a shopping cart loaded with toys donated last year as part of a toy drive held in Jacob’s memory.