ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Mila Martineau, with her sisters Ava and Presley in the background, go through the holiday toy drive box on the front porch of their home in Nahant.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — Jessica and Mark Martineau are collecting toys for the Jimmy Fund Clinic at the Dana Farber Institute in Boston, where their two-year-old daughter Mila was treated.
Mila was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in January after her parents noticed a lump on her back. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor and began weekly chemotherapy treatments that concluded in June.
“Her last scan was in October and it all looked really good,” Jessica said. “There were no signs of anything. She was diagnosed in January, so her anniversary is coming up. If it were last year, all our plans would be different. You can’t be around family or friends.”
But the family remembers the special occasions when nurses and volunteers made the day more bearable at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. During Mila’s final treatment, nurses showered her in gifts to commemorate the special day.
Jessica said she hopes she can bring the children battling cancer one of those positive memories. Mila’s older sister Presley, 5, said she wanted to make the sick children happy.
“Mila was so sick, she had to go to the doctor’s office for her to get better,” Presley said. “We’re donating toys to our friends.”
The family, which also includes Mila’s twin sister Ava, decided the toys should be kept at the clinic for children to use while they sit and receive treatment during the holiday season.
Jessica recommended Lego sets, Crayola Model Magic modeling compound, stationary crafts, puzzles and coloring books.
“It was sort of last minute and low-key,” she said. “But I run into people and they hand me gifts. People have ordered toys on Amazon to my house.”
Collection boxes have been placed at the Nahant Police Station at 198 Nahant Road and the Nahant Public Library at 15 Pleasant St. The family is hoping to collect as many new, unwrapped toys as possible before next Monday, when they will deliver the gifts.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte