Local News

Sick Children Receive Gifts In Memory Of Cancer Victim

Posted December 20, 2004

— Hundreds of heartwarming gifts have been donated in the name of a little girl who lost her battle with brain cancer two weeks ago.

Avery Hackett's family donated her organs when she died and, Monday, they gave a gift of a different kind.

Several hundred stuffed animals donated in Avery's name are the legacy of the 6-year-old girl.

"I can't begin to tell you," said Avery's father, Joseph Hackett. "It touches my heart so much. It humbles me to no end."

The 1,100 stuffed animals will be given to children at the hospital for Christmas and birthdays.

"I hope it'll put a little bright spot in their lives because that what Avery did," said Avery's mother, Gena Hackett. "She was a drop of sunshine."

Hospital officials say the stuffed animals donated in Avery's memory will comfort hundreds of young patients at UNC's Children's Hospital.

"To be able to give them stuffed animals to hug and love is amazing!" said Ginna Barber of UNC Hospitals. "Just her spirit and brightness is a testament to her family."

For Joseph and Gena Hackett, it has been a difficult road -- Avery was their only child.

But, the couple has found peace in donating their daughter's organs and now in helping out other sick children.

They say Avery is also at peace.

"When she'd dance, she'd say I'm dancing for the Lord and now she's dancing with him and she's spending her first Christmas up there," said Joseph Hackett.

Avery's parents say other stuffed animals they get will go to the sheriff's office and an area battered women's shelter.

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