was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year and a half ago.
She and fellow Girl Scout Anna Suarez of troop 370 teamed up for
the project, which encourages leadership and planning skills to
positively affect the community.
"There's a lot of kids that need help and care and love," said
"Toys are sort of a comfort," Samantha added.
The two are best friends and said they do everything together. At
school, Anna often sets up Samantha's blood/glucose monitor during
lunch to help her test her blood sugar.
So when Samantha said she wanted to help other patients at the
hospital, Anna thought it was a great idea.
The two passed out fliers in the neighborhood and at Girl Scout
functions, and mailed letters to toy companies requesting new,
unwrapped toys that can be used in bed.
Toys must be new to avoid patient infection, the hospital's
Samantha and Anna haven't counted the toys yet, but the large
collection of Barbie Dolls, Hot Wheels and coloring books are stacked
against a living room wall.
The girls extended the toy drive until May 15.
"We've had a great response so far but thought, 'Why not try and
get as many as we can?'" Samantha's mother Amy Daniels-Casella said.
Samantha visits the hospital five or six times a year,
Daniels-Casella said. She doesn't know any of the patients personally
but sees many sick children each time she goes to Childrens Hospital.
"There's just something in your heart that says you need to help
them," Samantha said.
Childrens Hospital distributes about 500 toys a week to patients
who will get surgery, who are in the hospital for more than a week or
are having a birthday, according to the hospital's website.
Samantha hopes some of the children receiving toys will be in the
"I can relate to them, and I can tell them how I feel," she said.
"We met a lady who's son had very high blood sugar."
He spent at least two weeks in the hospital, Daniels-Casella said.
"Actually, we know quite a few kids who've had to be hospitalized
when they were first diagnosed," Daniels-Casella said.
Samantha, her mother and Anna are doing all they can to prevent
that from happening to Samantha, but the education and support
they've received from Childrens Hospital is what really made the
"They trained us on everything we need to know," Daniels-Casella
said. "They really teach her to have a normal life and live with her
diabetes and manage it."
The treatment Samantha receives from the hospital helped her
accept and understand her condition, she said.
"They're really, really, super-duper nice," Samantha said. "I
actually understand what it could do to me if I didn't take care of
She counts her blessings that she's not as sick as some of the
other patients she sees in the hospital.
And until she grows up to become a diabetes specialist and massage
therapist, she's helping out any way she can.