Lakeside Bank 2022.July
Madelyn and Zachary Rodrigues are proud to hold an annual toy drive benefiting patients at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago. (Supplied photos)

Madelyn and Zachary Rodrigues are proud to hold an annual toy drive benefiting patients at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago. (Supplied photos)

Teen helps others despite brittle bone disease

Family toy drive benefits Comer Children’s Hospital

By Kelly White

Early on in her life, Madelyn Rodrigues was diagnosed with Osteogeneis Imperfects, a brittle bone disease that has already resulted in more than 70 bone fractures in her 14 years of life.

As a freshman at Illinois Lutheran High School in Crete, Madelyn’s inner strength shines outward and she refuses to allow the disease to limit her livelihood. She still actively competes in cheerleading, volleyball and is a photographer for her school’s yearbook. Even with her busy schedule, she is constantly looking for ways to help others.

Madelyn partnered with her brother, Zachary, a sophomore and athlete participating in soccer, basketball and all-conference baseball at Illinois Lutheran High School, to start an annual toy drive benefiting patients at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago.

“Personally, this toy drive means a lot to me living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta,” Madelyn, of Monee, said. “As a young person who has suffered a lot of painful breaks, I remember when the doctors or nurses would bring a stuffed animal to me, and they would wrap the stuffed animal with a cast where I had my injury. Those moments brought me comfort because they would say the stuffed animal was just like me. I hope that even one kid feels the same level of comfort I did because of the toys we deliver.”

Zachary’s previous baseball organization started a smaller one and the kids were impacted by the stories they heard about children in the hospital. Last year, the organization did not conduct the toy drive due to the pandemic, so the kids spearheaded one on their own to ensure that the kids had toys for the holidays.

This marks the second year the siblings have taken on the toy drive completely on their own, setting up toy collection boxes at their school. Donations can also made through a self-created Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ZachandMaddyToyDrive2021.

They continue to receive overwhelming support. Last year alone they received more than 1,000 toys. There is never any number of toys expected, as they are just grateful for whatever they can collect for kids who need it most, the siblings said.

The wish list of toys comes directly from the hospital https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/comer/give/donation-wish-lists.

“I enjoy knowing that children who have medical concerns can have a sense of joy during the holiday season, or throughout the year, even though they are in the hospital,” Madelyn said. “Also, the employee at the hospital said that many children who are able to leave at some point insist upon bringing these toys home with them as they have become their new favorite toy because it got them through their toughest time.”

“I enjoy not only hearing stories of the children receiving a gift that they enjoy, but also knowing that this possibly takes away a little stress for the parents,” Zachary said. “By providing toys for the children, the parents can focus on their child’s well-being and treatment, and not have to worry about making sure they find time to shop for Christmas presents.”

Donations will be accepted through early December and delivered to the hospitals on December 4 by the Rodrigues family.

Their father, Jeremy Rodrigues, an English teacher at Shepard High School, has a donation box set up in his classroom at the school in Palos Heights. He said he couldn’t be prouder of his children in their effort to bring others cheer during the holiday season.

“Other than the possible joy that children within the hospitals receive, both Zachary and Madelyn personally like the generosity of strangers who donate to such a worthy cause,” Rodrigues said. “There would be no toy drive without the kindness of strangers.”

regional rodriguez toy drive2

Madelyn and Zachary Rodrigues show off some of the early toy donations they are storing in the family’s garage.

Local News

The main sign at the Scottsdale shopping center could in the months ahead sport a sign for a cannabis dispensary. --Supplied photo

Some saying ‘Nope to dope’

Concern over dispensary in Scottsdale By Tim Hadac Owners of a cannabis dispensary want to set up shop in the Scottsdale Shopping Center—a move some in the community are questioning and others are opposing. “There’s a lot of concern out there,” said Scottsdale Neighborhood Watch President Jason Huff. “First, there’s concern about whether a dispensary…

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart

Dart warns of Kia, Hyundai thefts

Suggests steps to protect vehicle owners From staff reports Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is warning the public about what he is calling a dramatic rise in thefts of certain models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. He is urging owners to take additional precautions to reduce the risk of theft. In the past few…

Ray Hanania

Chicago’s ‘safe life’ is long gone

By Ray Hanania When I was younger, my dad would always talk about how beautiful the city where he grew up was, but how grateful he was to be able to come to and settle in Chicago. Of course, he was talking about Jerusalem, which long before his country, Palestine, was torn by war, was…

Roberts Road closures and detours. (Supplied by Illinois Tollway Authority)

Overnight closures coming Monday night for Roberts Road, 87th Street

Overnight road closures, including weekend full intersection closures with detours, will be scheduled on Roberts Road and 87th Street during the next two weeks to accommodate mainline bridge beam placement as part of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project. Overnight lane closures will also be scheduled on southbound I-294 during this time to complete the work. On Monday, August 15,…

IllinoisTollwayLogo_HiRes

Traffic shift coming Monday on Tri-State between 83rd Street and Mile-Long Bridge

Beginning Monday, night, a traffic shift is scheduled on the northbound Central Tri-State Tollway between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge, including removal of the current counterflow configuration. Four lanes will remain open. Overnight August 15, on northbound I-294 between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge overnight lane closures will be scheduled, with traffic reduced to a single lane…

Sandburg's Jillian Cosler finished second in a prestigious tournament in Decatur on Friday. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg golfer Jillian Cosler opens high school sports season with a bang

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The 2022-23 high school sports season opened with a bang. Practices were allowed to begin on Aug. 8 and the IHSA unleashed boys and girls golfers on Aug. 11; and there was some excitement the next day. Sandburg’s girls golf team participated in the Prep Tour Showcase at Hickory Point…

Fire goalie Gabriel "Gaga" Slonina and his teammates have four games scheduled at SeatGeek Stadium in the coming months. Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire

Pro Soccer Report: Chicago Fire to play four matches at SeatGeek

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Before soccer fans could blink their eyes, SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview has been tabbed to host four Chicago Fire games. SeatGeek was the MLS club’s home from 2006 until 2019, when it moved to Soldier Field. Conflicts with Soldier Field’s prized tenants, the Chicago Bears, and damage to the playing…

Rich Miller

Pritzker’s beat-down of Bailey will continue

By Rich Miller The ongoing uproar over Darren Bailey’s 2017 claim that the Holocaust “doesn’t even compare on a shadow” to the lives lost to abortion reminded me of a scene in an old movie called “A Bronx Tale.” The claim Bailey made on Facebook exploded into view courtesy of a brutal TV ad by…

With the color guard flags whipping in the breeze, the Shepard High School marching band rehearses their new field show. (Supplied photos)

Marching Astros take the field

Weeks before the start of the new school year, marching band members from Shepard High School baked in the summer sun to prepare for the coming competitive season. As much as any event, marching band camp signals the start of a new school year. For a week, the Marching Astros arrived early and stayed late…

Ryan Clancy talks about his sister, Chicago Police Officer Patricia "Patsy" Swank, 29, who committed suicide last month. Clancy said the pressure on all police officers is a heavy burden and supports the Oak Lawn Police Department following a controversial arrest of a teen last month. Clancy made his comments during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning.(Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…

Neighbors

Pritzker talks session timeline, highlights infrastructure spending

Pritzker talks session timeline, highlights infrastructure spending

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – In a series of downstate news conferences coinciding with the Illinois State Fair, Gov. JB Pritzker this week gave an update on the possibility of a special session, outlined new state infrastructure investments and announced a new program for some Illinoisans over age 55. While the…

10-day sales tax reduction on clothing, school supplies begins Friday

10-day sales tax reduction on clothing, school supplies begins Friday

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Friday and lasting through Aug. 14, the state will reduce its sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent for certain clothing items costing less than $125 and school supplies. The “tax holiday” was included in Gov. JB Pritzker’s “family relief plan,” one prong…

State lays out $34.6B multi-year spending plan for roads, bridges, ports, airports, rail and transit

State lays out $34.6B multi-year spending plan for roads, bridges, ports, airports, rail and transit

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday laid out a $34.6 billion six-year spending plan for road, bridge, transit, rail, airport and port upkeep. It’s the latest multi-year plan backed by the state’s 2019 Rebuild Illinois bipartisan infrastructure law, which doubled the state’s motor fuel tax…

2022 Illinois State Fair officially opens

2022 Illinois State Fair officially opens

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The 2022 Illinois State Fair officially got underway Thursday when Gov. JB Pritzker and Secretary of State Jesse White cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of the main entrance to the fairgrounds. “As many of you know, the Illinois State Fair, one of my favorite events…

CAPITOL RECAP: State Fair begins in Springfield

CAPITOL RECAP: State Fair begins in Springfield

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois State Fair organizers unveiled the 101st State Fair butter cow Wednesday, an unofficial kickoff of the fair which began Thursday, Aug. 11, and runs through Aug. 21. The sculpture – by Iowan Sarah Pratt – consists of more than 800 pounds of recycled butter…

‘Grow with Us’ State Fair, butter cow theme a nod to agriculture, infrastructure

‘Grow with Us’ State Fair, butter cow theme a nod to agriculture, infrastructure

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois State Fair organizers unveiled the 101st State Fair butter cow Wednesday, an unofficial kickoff of the fair which begins Thursday and runs through Aug. 21. The sculpture – by Iowan Sarah Pratt – consists of more than 800 pounds of recycled…

Pritzker eying Indiana firms after abortion law signed

Pritzker eying Indiana firms after abortion law signed

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker said this week that he is actively reaching out to businesses in Indiana and other states that have recently passed restrictive abortion laws in hopes of luring those companies to Illinois. “Well, already I’ve reached out to companies that are affected in…

Regulatory work behind 1 million EV push in full swing in Illinois

Regulatory work behind 1 million EV push in full swing in Illinois

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Ten months after Illinois lawmakers passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act which set a goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on state roads by the end of the decade, state agencies are engaged in a flurry of regulatory planning aimed at meeting those goals.…

10-day sales tax reduction on clothing, school supplies begins Friday

10-day sales tax reduction on clothing, school supplies begins Friday

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Friday and lasting through Aug. 14, the state will reduce its sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent for certain clothing items costing less than $125 and school supplies. The “tax holiday” was included in Gov. JB Pritzker’s “family relief plan,” one prong…

Pritzker highlights Rebuild Illinois funding for Cahokia Heights sewers, Rend Lake Resort

Pritzker highlights Rebuild Illinois funding for Cahokia Heights sewers, Rend Lake Resort

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinoi [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – When state lawmakers voted on bipartisan lines in 2019 to double Illinois’ motor fuel tax and raise several driving-related fees, it laid the groundwork for a $45 billion infrastructure plan, the largest in Illinois’ history and the first in nearly a decade. The plan, spanning six…

Reporter Mecy Circle House Ad
DVN Very Gentle Dental Care House Ad