BURRILLVILLE – In 2017, Zoie Mercier delivered 231 packs of crayons; 84 packs of colored pencils; 49 packs of markers; 13 packs of pens; 296 coloring books; 69 children’s books and
250 other items, including crafts and toys, to Boston Children’s Hospital.
The stockpile will help to keep sick kids occupied during long stays at the hospital.
It’s a mission born from the empathy of a young girl who knows what it’s like to spend time there.
Mercier has a rare genetic disease called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Her and her 4-year-old brother Jacoby both suffer from the disorder, which affects one in every 6,000 people. The disease causes tumors to form in the vital organs of the body, and both kids have formed them in their brain, heart and kidneys.
The Mercier kids have had countless visits to the Massachusetts hospital for tests, studies, imaging, overnights and sometimes lengthy stays.
Last year Zoie decided she wanted to help other patients like her and her little brother. Family members jumped on board, and the “Two Siblings Challenge TSC” was born, with the mission of collecting new items for kids to use at the facility.
“The hospital and Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic has been a godsend to our family and we are forever thankful,” said their mother, Jerilyn Dupuis. “Sometimes hospital stays can be long and stressful for children, so this gives them something to keep occupied.”
Zoie and Jacoby went to work collecting new kids’ stuff for the hospital, from crafts to Play-Doh in 2017 and in the end, donated 983 items to Boston Children’s Hospital.
This year, 8-year-old Zoie is off to a great start in the now annual campaign. On Saturday, Nov. 17, the Callahan Elementary School 3rd-grader will set up a booth at the Victorian Holiday event in downtown Pascoag, collecting items to be brought to the hospital at the end of December. All items must be new in order to be used at the facility.
For Dupuis, the drive is about gratitude, and the pay-it-forward campaign is also accepting monetary donations to put directly toward the project.
The Kraft family and New England Patriots have donated a Dont’a Hightower #54 official autographed photo for the family to raffle at the event. Tickets are three for $5, 10 for $10 or 25 for $20.
Anyone interested in donating or purchasing tickets can visit Zoie at the event, or email email@example.com.
Donations can also be mailed to Zoie Mercier at 43 Eagle Peak Road Pascoag, RI 02859, or dropped off at DATTCO, 404 Pascoag Main St.
The drive also serves to raise awareness about TSC, the leading known genetic cause of both epilepsy and autism.
To learn more, follow the Facebook group Two Siblings Challenge TSC!