CREVE COEUR, Mo. -- It's not quite Santa's sleigh that pulled up outside Mercy Children's Hospital on Wednesday, but maybe not even the Jolly Old Man himself could have collected as many toys as Sydney Coari.
The 7-year-old from Hermann donated more than 4,500 toys to Mercy in Creve Coeur. It was a special delivery from a very special young girl.
"She's been through so much. Stem cell transplant, lots of chemotherapy, lots of surgeries," Sydney's mom, Dana Manley said.
Sydney has a rare form of kidney cancer. She's been fighting for two years. Manley said doctors are running out of treatment options. The family is now focused on Sydney's quality of life, making sure each day is full of memories.
"Every day is a gift. Hug your babies tight, you never know when you're not going to be able to do that again," Manley said.
Sydney has a bucket list. The first item on that list was to collect toys for Mercy to help sick children.
"I hope it makes them happy and put a smile on their face," Sydney said.
The goal was to collect a thousand toys, but that number was quickly surpassed thanks to an army of supporters. Through a Facebook page called #SydneysSoliders, Manley wrote about Sydney's Bucket List Toy Drive. The call for toys went out, and it was answered in a big way. Soon businesses in several different counties started placing collection bins outside storefronts. The final count: 4,761.
"People saw that I was collecting toys so they started helping. They went to the store and started buying lots of toys," Sydney said.
"The support their showing Syndey makes her want to keep fighting because she knows so many people love her," Manley said.