6-year-old cancer survivor collects 1,500 toys for PCH

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by Christina O'Haver

Video report by Carey Peña

Posted on August 7, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 7 at 8:44 PM

PHOENIX -- Like most kids nearing their seventh birthday, Baylee Nichols asked for toys.

But the cancer survivor didn't want toys for herself; she wanted to donate them to the other young patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Baylee was diagnosed with JMML, a rare form of leukemia, at just 13 months old. Doctors gave her a 20 percent chance of survival, with the only protocol being a bone marrow transplant.

Her then 3-year-old brother, Brody, was a match and donated bone marrow to her on Nov. 13, 2008. She was just 15 months old.

Baylee spent seven weeks in the ICU at Phoenix Children's Hospital, five of which were in a medically induced coma. But Baylee beat the odds and has been in remission for five years.

When her parents asked her what she wanted for her seventh birthday, which is Aug. 10, she told them she wanted to collect toys for kids receiving treatment at the hospital.

"We created a Facebook event and it just exploded," said Sharon Nichols, Baylee's mom. "My daughter's a cancer survivor and my son is her bone marrow donor, and everybody was touched by their story and their generosity."

In 38 days, Baylee collected 1,570 toys from family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers and even complete strangers. She delivered them to the hospital Thursday.

"I felt like it was the right thing to do," she said, calling the results "awesome."

Even Major League Baseball legend Luis Gonzalez showed up to help.

"She is kind of making it her mission to change the world," Sharon Nichols said, "and she can do it."

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