The toy drive began in 2016 when the employees of Ryan Homes of West Chester, where Janelle Massey works, were looking for an idea for their annual charity drive.
Jillian had been receiving her cancer treatments at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since that summer. So a colleague of Janelle Massey, Dan Emmerson, suggested honoring Jillian in whatever the company decided to do, the Morning Call reported.
The goal was to collect about 50 toys for the hospital's pediatric oncology unit, but by mid-December, donations had exceeded 3,000 toys. Jillian delivered the toys just before Christmas.
This year, Southern Lehigh Middle School gym teacher Devon Hagy, who teaches one of Jillian’s two brothers, decided to help. She asked students to collect as much money as they could for Sassy Massey and hoped to raise $8,000. The children nearly doubled that amount, the Morning Call reported.
Hagy said she was numbed by Jillian’s death.
“I truly believe we have all been touched by an angel,” she told the Morning Call. “She has made such an imprint on the community, on our area, the state, possibly even nationally. She will forever be remembered and I think we’re going to always follow her mission and continue to bless the children, to spread her love.”
This year’s toys will be delivered to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Doylestown Hospital and DuPont Children’s Hospital in Delaware, the Morning Call reported.
Jillian “is now in a place where smiles are on the faces of all whom greeted her upon her arrival,” her parents wrote on Facebook. “ She will be able to slide down rainbows for a quick visit and return to heaven to her new home whenever she wants. She will never know pain, anger or sadness. She will only know love and joy.”