Judy Baker and co-organizers delivered more than 5 car loads of new toys to Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley on Oct. 19, which would have been her daughter Rachel’s 26th birthday.
“Rachel was a very happy, outgoing person,” her mother said. “She always liked to have fun and she enjoyed every moment of her life.”
Rachel was first diagnosed with leukemia following her freshman year in college, and then went through a year of treatment and a year in remission. When she returned to school she changed her career focus so she could help children who were going through what she went through.
“She wanted to lift people’s spirits, and had visions of being a ‘nurse Patch Adams,'” Judy said.
At the time of her passing the family requested toy donations in lieu of flowers, and they were donated to Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley. The outpouring was so generous that the family has repeated the toy drive for Rachel every year since.
A family friend of Judy’s was diagnosed with leukemia at about the same time as Rachel, and was treated at Akron Children’s. Today that family friend is cancer-free.