More than 130 gifts were collected for children at Cardinal Glennon’s Children Hospital in St. Louis.
Jennifer Gratzer, owner of Cardio Corner, said her initial goal was to collect 60 gifts.
“There (are) 195 beds in the hospital and that was my big goal, but hopefully next year we’ll hit that,” Gratzer said.
This was her first year organizing a collection drive for the hospital. She said she was happy about the turnout because only her gym members were aware of the drive.
“I didn’t really get a lot of exposure because I was just trying it to see how it would work and it took off so good,” Gratzer said.
“It is just an awesome feeling to do that for the sick kids and the parents.”
She added that a total of 35 gifts also were collected for mothers who have a child staying at the children’s hospital.
Gratzer said she wanted to give back after going through a difficult birth with her son, Levi, two years ago.
“I had a life or death situation in the labor, so it kind of just changed my whole outlook (on life),” she said.
“I just wanted to do something that would reach out to the families and (to) the people that are struggling.
“It makes you see how the most important things (are) not just the gifts under the tree, it’s the sick kids and the kids that are fighting for their life, (and) the parents that have to go through that.”
Gratzer and her husband dropped off the gifts at the hospital on Friday.
“I really want to do a shoutout to everybody that did donate because they all just jumped on board.
“It was such a cool experience. It was so neat to see people do that for the kids,” Gratzer said.
For next year, Gratzer said people can start dropping off donations in November and it will run until Dec. 20.