With a laugh that echoes across the neighborhood, one would never guess that eight-year-old Brooklyn Hernandez spends quite a bit of her time in and out of the hospital.
Her visits are the result of a condition called Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation.
Her first operation involved cutting away part of her lung at just 6 months old.
Since then, she’s been a frequent patient at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
It was there she was offered her first container of Play-Doh.
“They were like, ‘Do you want Play-Doh?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah!’ And then I opened it and started playing with it and I got happy,” said Brooklyn Hernandez.
She wanted to share the happiness she felt with other patients.
This led her to take matters into her own hands.
Leading up to her fourth birthday, instead of asking for presents, she asked for donations to give to Children’s Hospital.
What started as friends and family collecting Play-Doh to donate, quickly became something bigger than anyone expected.
A Facebook post was all it took for donations to roll in from across the Santa Clarita Valley.
The porch quickly became swarmed with packages from Amazon sent in by the community.
The mother-daughter duo collected a few thousand containers of the colorful dough the first few years.
Hoping to beat their previous goals, the pair has yet to show any signs of stopping.
“This year, so far we have collected over 10,000 (Play-Dohs), which is more than double last year,” said Brooklyn’s mom, Tiffany Hernandez.
“It’s going to be scary to see how we beat it next year,” she said with a chuckle.
With so many donations, they’ve had to make multiple trips to unload it all. Even now, they have a few hundred containers that still need to be dropped off.
Brooklyn Hernandez shows no signs of worry for next year’s haul. She’s already planning on how they’ll accomplish it all.
“If we get a big giant [moving truck], we’ll be fine,” said Brooklyn Hernandez while stretching her arms out wide to exemplify the vehicle’s largeness.
As a mom, Tiffany couldn’t be any more proud of her daughter.
“When I go back and see them pushing that little cart and giving out the Play-Doh, I’m like ‘Ah that’s Brooklyn’s!’” Tiffany Hernandez said.
“Just always thinking that she did so much to give back to kids who are feeling down or having a bad day.”