Marryatt family turns tragedy into successful toy drive

    These are some of the toys donated to the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax by residents of Isle Madame, in memory of Jason Marryatt.

    LITTLE ANSE: One local family is continuing to turn a tragedy into a feel good story for the holidays.

    On November 13, Carol and Laura Marryatt travelled to the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, via a Strait Area Transit shuttle, to deliver approximately $9,000 worth of toys for young patients.

    Marryatt said the load included 15 large boxes and a number of large toys – including keyboards, train sets, dolls, Legos, blankets, and bead-making kits – which were picked up by the health care facility’s Child Life Services team.

    “The shuttle was full except for the two seats that Laura and I sat in,” Carol told The Reporter. “It turned out very, very well.”

    Among the donated toys for children, ranging from babies to those 18 years of age, Carol noted were 16 large gingerbread houses, each with their own elf.

    “We decided this year that we were going to bring gingerbread boxes to each of the kids, to make a gingerbread house,” Carol noted. “This was for each of the kids on the sixth floor, that was the floor Jason was on.

    “It could be something they could work on now, as a family.”

    Their effort was in memory of their son and brother Jason Marryatt who died on August 20, 2017 at the age of 21 after a lengthy battle with Ewings Sarcoma.

    During his illness, Jason stayed at the IWK for six months after breaking his femur.

    “It keeps his memory alive and it’s something that he would’ve always wanted to do because Jason was the type of person that loved to give to everybody,” his mother recalled. “He didn’t like to receive, but he loved to give.”

    Staff at the IWK promised to send the Marryatts pictures of the toys arranged around the Christmas tree this year.

    “That’ll be really nice for us to see because it’s nice to see how kids react to all this stuff,” she noted.

    Not only does the toy drive help the family deal with its grief during the holidays, Carol said it also helps many children and families.

    “I was there for a long time and I know there are a lot of kids in there,” Carol said. “When you’re in there as a parent, because I was one of them, you don’t have money to buy extra stuff.

    “It’s helping children. If you’re in the hospital at Christmas and you get a doll you always wanted, well you have 10 minutes or five minutes of fun with that doll, no matter how sick you are. That’s the thing I like about it; these kids are going to get their wish of whatever they want because there’s loads of toys.”

    Pictured are Carol and Jason Marryatt during the Relay for Life in Arichat.

    In addition to her thanks to Strait Area Transit for providing transportation, Carol was also very grateful to the residents of Isle Madame for their generosity again this year.

    “The community was extremely generous, very, very generous,” she said. “I got the idea but the community were the ones that did it because without the community, I couldn’t have done it on my own.”

    Although the holiday season is no longer the same for the Marryatts, Carol added this new effort, which they hope will become an annual event, has brought joy into their lives by giving back.

    “It makes us feel marvelous,” Carol stated. “It’s like I know we’re keeping his memory alive and we’re also doing something to help out the hospital that helped him out for a long time.

    “It’s a good Christmas feeling for us because when you lose one of the family, Christmas is never the same. But now it gives us a little bit more of that Christmas spirit to be able to do this.”