Former patient pays it forward with toy drive for kids at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Katherine Scott Image
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Former patient pays it forward with toy drive for children at CHOP
Former patient pays it forward with toy drive for children at CHOP: Katherine Scott reports on Action News Mornings, December 5, 2019

RIDLEY TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- This holiday season looks a lot different for the Tyson family of Ridley Township, than the one 13 years ago.

In 2006, Matt was only 11 and at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for Christmas, receiving a life-saving liver transplant.

"I know it was hard. It was hard for me," said Matt Tyson

His mother, Nancy Tyson, remembered, "I have other children. So, you're trying to get ready for the holidays and be happy for them when you have a child that may not live."

It's never easy for a child to stay in the hospital, let alone at Christmas, but his mother, Nancy, recalled something that made the stay just a bit brighter- a gift delivery on Christmas morning.

Nancy explained, "Santa Claus came in, left the bag on the bed. It was very, very sweet."

Matt would spend nine months at CHOP.

The following Christmas, he and his family had a plan to pay it forward.

They led a toy drive for children staying at the hospital over the holidays. They've been doing this ever since.

"CHOP saved my child's life. I wanted to give back, and I felt this was the best way," said Nancy.

Matt's brother, Joe Tyson, said "People don't realize that- like one toy can honestly make a kid's day. I mean, there were so many times we went and played cards with Matt. A deck of cards. It's that easy."

Matt points out that children come from all over the world to be treated at CHOP. This could be especially significant to the children who are far away from home.

"Lucky me, I had my family close by that was able to be there, where a lot of kids don't have that," Matt explained.

You still have time to help. They're collecting gifts, games, gift cards, puzzles, and more, up until Monday, December 9th.

"You get more and more people getting involved every year," according to Matt.

"Putting a smile on their face even if it's just for a few moments, takes their mind off their illness," Nancy told 6abc.

She added, "I wanted those children to know that they weren't forgotten and that their families weren't forgotten."

If you would like to donate contact you can contact the Tyson's at:

or via Facebook: