Jamony Young is helping transform his loss into positive light for other local families. And like any parent, he wants to make his kids proud.
The third annual Ja’Zai Young toy drive, a tribute to his late son, is Saturday, April 30.
“I just felt like this would be a great thing to do in honor of him,” said 28-year-old Young, a Federal Way native. “Making my kids happy was always the game plan, always the goal. By doing this, it’s helping me and it’s helping the community.”
Ja’Zai was born in March 2016 with esophagus atresia, a birth defect where the tube connecting a baby’s mouth to its stomach does not develop properly. A day after he was born, Ja’Zai underwent surgery, Young said.
The next two years consisted of hospital stays, and various procedures to help him heal.
On Oct. 16, 2018, Ja’Zai died from surgery complications, Young said. Grieving the loss of his son is still fresh, but Young said he made a decision to be positive for the people around him.
“Me being a parent who understands you feel the need to take on your kids’ battles for them, I understood how other kids and parents might feel,” he said of long hospital stints and health challenges. “It definitely helped inspire me to create this movement.”
All the donations from the toy drive are given to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
For health and safety, all donations must be new or unused. Young said donations of toys, books and clothes for kids of any age are welcomed.
“I know there are kids of numerous ages that have to have extensive stays in the hospital … and these toys help, whether it’s on a holiday, a birthday, or any given day they need cheering up,” said Young, who also has a 12-year-old daughter.
In addition to collecting toys, the April 30 event offers food, beverages, prize raffles and a live DJ.
The toy drive is from 2-6 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at 1200 S. 324th Street in Federal Way (the former Jeffrey’s Jewelers location).