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Mount Greenwood girl with cancer knows toys bring joy to sick kids

Emily Beazley left Abby Casciasit with toys they collected Emily's home Chicago IL Friday November 16 2012. Abby runs toy

Emily Beazley, left, and Abby Casciato sit with toys they collected at Emily's home in Chicago, IL, on Friday, November 16, 2012. Abby runs a toy drive for Advocate Hope Children's Hospital. Last year, she collected 700 toys. This year's event is Dec. 8. She is partnering with 10-year-old Emily Beazley, who has cancer and is a regular at Hope for chemo treatments. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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If you go ...

Toy drive for Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital

When: 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 8

Where: Sean’s Rhino Bar, 10330 S. Western Ave., Chicago.

Etc.: Drink specials and basket raffles will be offered. All toys must be new and unwrapped. Cash donations accepted as well.

Information: Call Abby Casciato at (773) 718-0195.

Updated: December 27, 2012 6:04AM



Emily Beazley knows what it’s like to be sick. She knows what it’s like to lose her hair.

But the 10-year-old Mount Greenwood girl also knows what it’s like to be surprised with a new toy.

“It cheers you up,” said Emily, who has battled a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma for the past two years.

This Christmas, this tiny veteran of spinals and chemo treatments is helping to cheer up other sick kids.

She is partnering with Abby Casciato, manager of Sean’s Rhino Bar, 10330 S. Western Ave., Chicago, for the 4th Annual Toy Drive for Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital.

Casciato started the holiday toy drive four years ago, simple because she thought it was a nice thing to do.

That first year, she collected 300 toys. Last year’s haul was more than 700.

“Living in this community, there is always someone that everyone is pulling together for, which is why I’m so proud to be a South Sider,” Casciato said. “With the toy drive, we all come together and do the same thing but in this case we get to help multiple children and families at once.”

Casciato learned of Emily’s plight after they met at a block party a couple of summers ago.

She knew Emily was sick and that she spent much of her time getting chemotherapy treatments at Hope.

After last year’s toy collection, she invited the little girl to her house to choose a special toy for herself before she and friends transported the donations to Hope.

“There were hundreds of toys and she chose one,” Casciato said.

Emily remembered it was a Barbie.

Emily’s mom, Nadia Beazley, said her oldest daughter is so excited to help with this year’s drive.

Because her cancer is the most aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Emily, who is in remission right now, will continue to get treatments until July 13, Nadia said.

Protocol demands a 2-year, 3-month treatment, she said.

“We call it her automatic sentence,” Nadia said.

It’s rough but Nadia says her daughter is a fighter.

“We call her a little rubber bouncing ball, because she just keeps bouncing back,” she said.

Through all the treatments, the multiple cases of pneumonia and even the time she spent in critical condition last year, Emily has never complained, Nadia said.

“She’s short of breath a lot but that’s it,” Nadia said.

Nadia said whenever Emily has to endure a difficult treatment, such as receiving her monthly spinal taps, she gets to visit the toy closet.

“Even though we have a million toys, that trip to the toy closet always lifts her spirits,” she said.

So now the little girl who dreams of becoming a pediatric oncology nurse one day so other little kids can tug at her hair and understand that it does grow back, has something fun to focus on.

Her little sister, Olivia, 6, is happy to assist. The girls will accompany Casciato and her friends when they deliver the toys to the hospital lobby.



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