WAHPETON, N.D. — Heather Haberman has been sharing memories of her son, James "Jessy" Haberman, and his positivity for nearly two years after he died during his 15th surgery in 2018.
Jessy was born with a rare genetic syndrome, and while he was in the hospital, he received a toy as a gift.
From there, he thought of a way to spread kindness to others in the hospital: a toy box.
"(Many of these) kids get sick 365 days out of the year, and not only do they have hospital stays on their birthdays, it's Christmas, it's every holiday, it's in the summer where the kids would rather be outside playing," Haberman said, explaining the nonprofit's reason for bringing toys to children.
A few years after "Jessy's Toy Box" started in 2015, it took off, delivering toys to thousands of families across North Dakota, Minnesota and as far away as Florida.
"It's crazy that it's just gone as far as it has," Haberman said.
After Jessy's death two years ago, Heather, along with the rest of the family, kept the toy box going.
"We always say: 'We are going to stay Jessy Strong,'" she said.
With Giving Hearts Day fast approaching, Haberman said she's excited to bring "Jessy Strong" to the next level when they start to raise funds for the nonprofit on Thursday, Feb. 13.
The toy box will start taking donations at 11 a.m., and will go until 4:30 p.m. at Wahpeton's City Brew Hall.
"We're trying to help the families that are away from home that have nothing to do, and this ... will help us fund that stuff for the kids," Haberman said of the fundraiser. "I think there's a special little angel looking down on us all, happy."