Houston, TX -- The holidays are a special time for 12-year-old Cecilia "Ceci" Trevino - not for any gifts she might receive, but for the comfort she can give other children battling critical illness in Houston-area hospitals.
At age eight, Ceci was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Emergency surgery saved her life. She would have to learn to walk and talk again.
The doctors, nurses, and staff at Texas Children's Hospital comforted Trevino through her healing journey. They would bring Ceci toys to brighten her spirits.
When Ceci was nine, she wrote a letter to her parents, Jorge and Melissa, expressing her gratitude for all those who helped her. She asked her parents if they would ask her school, St. Theresa Catholic School, if she could hold a toy drive to gather presents for other children in the hospital.
The first year, Ceci's family brought 300 toys to Texas Children's Hospital. The second year, they were able to donate 750.
Her oncologist, Dr. Frank Lin, suggested they start a 501(c)(3) non-profit to get organized. The Trevino family formed the Ceci Cares Foundation and were able to deliver 6,000 toys last year.
This year, more than $9,000 dollars has been raised.
"Because I was so fortunate, I want to help kids out. I know it's a hard time for them," Ceci says. "I want them to know they're not alone."
Ceci continues to get checkups. She's not out of the woods yet, but she is a thriving 7th grader. She plays golf and volleyball and cheers at St. Theresa's. And through her Ceci Cares Foundation, her Holiday Wishlist continues to grow.