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news News Wednesday, December 26, 2018 Wednesday, December 26, 2018 4:55 PM - Wednesday, December 26, 2018 4:55 PM

Jacob’s Christmas gift

Jacob’s Christmas gift

For many years, Jacob Pena has come to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston, bearing gifts all the way from Roswell, New Mexico. In 2011, when Jacob first came to the hospital as a burn patient, the giving that took place there inspired him. He celebrated his third birthday as an inpatient. His mother, Maria, recalls that Jacob was given gifts, and the hospital’s child life team threw him a party, which was a highlight of his two-month stay for acute burn treatment.

Jacob, who was adopted through foster care by the Pena family nine months after his injury, is a boy who loves musical theater. “He wants to become a puppeteer, and one day perform at children’s hospitals, like Shriners. He enjoys making people laugh,” said his mother, Maria.

When Jacob was younger, his mom says that he feared seeing other children with more visible burns than he had, even though she assured him the kids were just like him, and that they were his friends. To encourage Jacob to approach the other children, they started saving their McDonald’s toys to bring to the hospital and share with the other burn patients. He enjoyed this so much that he would inform the workers at the drive-through that he was saving these toys for his “friends.”

This year, when Jacob learned that he would be coming for his next treatment at Christmastime, he told his mom and dad that he wanted to bring toys for the kids. “Because it’s Christmas and everybody deserves something,” he said.

Although his favorite Christmas character is the Grinch, Jacob is anything but. To get things started, he wrote a letter of appeal to his community, asking for toy donations for the patients at his beloved Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston. With the help of his church, school, family and even his pediatrician back home, Jacob and his parents traveled to Galveston with their "sleigh" filled with toys. They were able to pack their family van so full of toys that hospital staff members compared it to a Shriner car packed full of clowns: “never-ending, and with lots of fun.”

Jacob and his family are extremely grateful for the support their toy drive received and would like to personally thank the following donors. They helped make Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston’s patient’s Christmas a little brighter this year. Special thanks to: Jacob Pena (burn patient) – Roswell, New Mexico; Masonic Lodge – Roswell, New Mexico (Chapter); Berrendo Elementary School – Roswell, New Mexico; Judy Jones – Roswell, New Mexico; Generations of Learning – Roswell, New Mexico; Jeri Key – Roswell, New Mexico; Community Women’s Ministry – Roswell, New Mexico; Crossroads Assembly of God – Roswell, New Mexico; BCA Medical Pediatric – Roswell, New Mexico; Dr. Karen Carson – Roswell, New Mexico; Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Murphy; Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Miranda – Virginia Beach; Mr. and Mrs. West – Florida; Kathy Wenzl – Las Cruces, New Mexico; Mr. and Mrs. Cantu – San Antonio, Texas; Sunset Church of Christ – Lubbock, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Martinez – Lubbock, Texas; Ashleigh Martinez – Lubbock, Texas; Carolyn Wright – Lubbock, Texas; Lawanna Smith – Lubbock, Texas; Debbie Jenkins – Lubbock, Texas; Just Kids Preschool – Lubbock, Texas; Jackie Martinez – Grace Clinic, Lubbock, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Juan Perez – Dallas, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Gary Wagner – Fort Worth, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Homer Galvan; Nor-Lea Hospital District – Lovington, New Mexico; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Galvan – Lovington, New Mexico; Family and Friends – Hobbs, New Mexico.

Jacob with  mom and dad in hospital  Jacob's letter asking for toy donations