WDBJ7’s number one story in 2013 didn't center on death or destruction, but rather a teenager and her journey to spread a little cheer.
We first met Savannah Day in September. The Botetourt County eighth grade cheerleader had just learned she would need brain surgery.
And, on top of that, she would be in the hospital for Christmas.
“If you get your mind off of it, it helps a lot actually,” Savannah said.
To get her mind off her troubles she focused on others, and the “Cheer 4 Savannah” mission was born.
Her goal was to collect 500 toys for the other kids who would also be in the Cincinnati Children's hospital for the holidays.
“It warms my heart that people want to help Savannah,” said Michelle Day, Savannah's Mom. “And, it warms my heart that people want to help a lot of kids that are going to be sick this Christmas.”
And, boy did they! When we checked in at the beginning of December, the Day family was giving Santa and his elves a run for their money! At that point, they had quadrupled their goal and were closing in on 3,000 toys.
Just over a week a later, the family and the toys made the trip to Ohio.
During a press conference at the hospital more than 4,000 thousand toys were donated. That was reportedly one of the largest donations in the hospital's history.
“The reason why I wanted to do this was to start a chain reaction,” Savannah Day said. “So when the kids get out of the hospital, they'd do something nice for somebody else.”
Savannah had her surgery and has been released from the hospital.
She's getting better every day and is already looking forward to her return to cheerleading and her next chance to give back to the community.