Blair County man loses son to cancer, helps children during Easter holiday

After losing his young son to cancer, a Blair County man is making sure to keep his memory alive. (WJAC)

ALTOONA - After losing his young son to cancer, a Blair County man is making sure to keep his memory alive.

Martin Garrett of Roaring Spring is collecting donated Easter baskets and delivering them to children in hospitals over the holiday.

In 2009, Garrett lost his 3-year-old son, Eli to cancer.

In his son's memory, he created "Easter for Eli."

It’s an organization that collects donated baskets and delivers them to numerous hospitals in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington D.C.

It’s a way to cheer up kids who are dealing with a difficult disease or illness, something Garrett knows all too well.

"There's always memories and hurt that goes along when you lose a child," Garrett said.

At 2, his little boy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma

During the first year Eli was in the hospital, Garrett's aunt decided to make him an Easter basket over the holiday.

Then, just 10 days before his fourth birthday the following year, Eli lost his battle with cancer.

"On the sixth year after Eli's passing, I thought I was going to start something on my own.

With the power of social media, Garrett’s organization, “Easter for Eli” is bigger than he ever imagined.

"Within a month starting the Facebook page, we had 500 baskets, 600 baskets and 700 baskets," Garrett said.

Over the years, Garrett has delivered hundreds of baskets to children in hospitals and this year, he plans on delivering hundreds more.

"To see the people that support and come together to make this happen is absolutely amazing," Garrett said.

Garrett and volunteers travel across the region to drop off baskets filled with toys, coloring books and gift cards for Sheetz, ITunes and Amazon.

Garrett said he hopes to one day deliver a basket to every child across the country. Easter basket donations are due by April 2. Each one has to be labeled by age group. Food and candy are not allowed inside the baskets.

Below is a list of drop off locations:

Altoona Always A Party Rental; Altoona In Style Salon; Altoona Sam's Club; Altoona Scissor Hands; Altoona United Way; Claysburg Claars Auto Sales & Notary; Claysburg Serenity Salon; Clearfield Copy-Rite & Banner Zone; Century 21 Strayer Assoc- Altoona Champion Roofing; Duncansville Amerigas Everett; Everett Saxton Station Pharmacy; Fishertown Be Free Counseling; Hollidaysburg Bradley Books Logan Valley Mall; Huntingdon Lowers Pharmacy; Roaring Spring Fredericks Meat Market; Roaring Spring Hair & Tonic; Roaring Spring Shear Techniques; Roaring Spring Turkey Hill; Saxton Gentle Family Dentistry; Somerset Puppy Love Designs; Woodbury Sister Shears styling Salon.

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