It all started this past May. Something inside told her that it was time to begin, and there was no way to deny it any longer.
It was time to do the Toki Poki™.
So armed with nothing more than their suitcases and good intentions, Christy and Toki flew to New York City to test the concept once and for all. They started by simply wandering the streets of the city, talking to pet owners in dog parks and neighborhoods, traversing uptown and down. At the end of one particularly long day, they were staggering back to their room when they suddenly heard “Little doggy! Little doggy!” emanating from a group of women in the hotel lobby. It was there that they met Connie Agnew, a trade show coordinator and mother-of-two from Warwick, Rhode Island.
Connie’s excitement about the Toki Poki™ trading cards both encouraged and inspired Christy, and it was only two weeks later – after signing up her pets, Bailey the Beagle (member #68) and Foster the Rescue Bunny (member #79) – that Connie contacted Christy again, this time by email, informing her that her kids wanted to be neighborhood “pack leaders” for Toki Poki™.
“Yes, I am a mom tired of X-box,” wrote Connie. “Kids need to communicate their skills in reading and writing! Your cards could create pen pals. So many positives!… Parents would love to have their pet on a trading card for their child.”
So Mary Kate, 13, and Ryan, 11, started promoting Toki Poki™ in their neighborhood and, to date, have recruited over 60 members.
In early June, Connie sent another message, this time about her son Ryan:
“Ryan wants to find someone to sponsor a care package of Toki Poki™ cards for kids in the hospital. He feels it would really bring a smile to them, and they can focus on something fun (rather) than the difficult medical side of it.”
It was only then that Christy learned that Ryan had been earlier diagnosed with acute liver failure, and that he had been given a life-saving liver transplant in October 2009. According to the Warwick Beacon: “Everything changed for Ryan last fall. An active, healthy child who enjoys playing hockey and soccer… Ryan became very sick on Columbus Day of last year. Ryan turned jaundice and started vomiting after playing a soccer game. His parent took him to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, but doctors there assessed the situation as dire, and he was transferred to the care of Dr. Sukru Emre at Yale Children’s Hospital in Connecticut.”
This was all Christy needed to hear. It was then and there that she decided to pack her entire life, putting it all in storage, and to begin a cross-country journey that would take her and Toki from L.A. all the way to Rhode Island. Along the route, they met new Toki Poki™ members. They visited friends and family, and are starting to share their adventures on their Road Trip Diary. It’s an adventure that would eventually extend over 100 days and 7,500 hard-driven miles.
The 2010 Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest is the result of that trip – both a celebration of Ryan’s one-year transplant anniversary and the realization of his ultimate goal: to bring smiles to kids in Children’s Hospitals.
It’s a goal we hope you’ll help us achieve and you can do so by taking part today! Simple ENTER NOW.