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One woman's love for Beanie Babies shared with children

PLATTSBURGH - When Gracelyn C. Murphy lost her courageous battle with metastatic breast cancer four years ago, little did she know she'd leave behind a gift that would help bring smiles to the faces of many children.

Murphy's collection of hundreds of Ty Beanie Babies, which she had been assembling for several years until she passed away in October 2006, was given to CVPH Medical Center last year. The posthumous donation was one that was ultimately decided would help ease the nerves of children in the hospital's Alice T. Miner Center for Women and Children.

Children who visit the pediatrics unit, explained director Maria Hayes, are sometimes nervous, and having a friend as small as a Beanie Baby can make a world of difference.

"When a child comes into a hospital, they can be so scared," said Hayes. "There are so many people who are strangers to them. They can get stuck with needles. So, any type of normalcy we can introduce to make them feel better is great."

The trove of small, stuffed animals, hasn't run out even several months after the donation was given to the hospital, said Hayes. That means a lot to Murphy's daughter, Cam Brown of Ticonderoga.

"When my mother passed away four years ago, she had these large Rubbermaid totes, filled with Beanie Babies," recalled Brown. "She was always buying Beanie Babies. I remember when my niece was little, she would spend summers with my mom and they'd just go shopping for Beanie Babies."

"When they would come visit me in Ticonderoga, they would need to go to Chestertown because there might be Beanie Babies there that they wouldn't have in Plattsburgh," she added.

Knowing the dedication and heart her mother put into the collection and how the collection today continues to help children is something that means the world to Brown.

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