‘Parker’s Toy Drive’ raises over 1,600 toys for kids in the hospital

The Coleman family holds the drive in honor of their son, Parker

ROANOKE, Va. – “He was obsessed with superheroes, all superheroes,” Sarah Coleman said. “That’s why when we started this we chose to do it as a superhero toy drive. And it’s kind of evolved into mostly superheroes but every kind of toy drive.”

Sarah Coleman dedicates every August 14 to her son, Parker.

“It gives us a reason to be positive this time of year when it would be very easy to be sad and depressed. It gives us something positive to focus on,” Coleman said.

Parker passed away on August 14, 2017, after a battle with Leigh’s Disease.

Every year since, Coleman and her family focus on giving back to kids in the hospital, just like Parker.

They held a toy drive every year to benefit Carilion Children’s, donating the toys on the day of Parker’s passing.

“It gets us talking about him again,” she said.

This is the fifth year of ‘Parker’s Superhero Toy Drive,’ and with over 1,600 toys, Coleman said this is their biggest donation to date.

“It’s nice to have something that will bring a smile to the child’s face and bring them some sort of calm or relief,” she said.

The majority of the donations are superhero related, to honor Parker’s love of superheroes.

“He loved superheroes and I think it fits. These kids that are here are fighting big fights and big battles, so they’re superheroes in their own right,” Coleman said.

Carilion Child Life Specialist Sarah Kress worked with Parker during his time in the hospital - a little boy she’ll always remember.

“It just really touches your heart in such a deep way to see the impact our care has had on this family, but also how they use their son’s legacy to empower other children,” Kress said.

Coleman said she hopes she’s making Parker proud,

“I think knowing that something he loved is bringing smiles to other kids’ faces would make him that much happier,” Coleman said.

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.