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Charity delivers smiles to kids with cancer

• Gifts made possible by Michael Hoefflin Foundation and COC.

Posted: April 7, 2008 2:23 a.m.
Updated: June 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Allison Devlin, director of student development at COC, left, and Anita Seibert, outreach program coordinator for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, load up an SUV full of wishes to be delivered Saturday morning.

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As he ran out of his home, Tyler Cordova caught sight of the two new toys sitting on his driveway.

His wish had come true.

The five-year-old was now the proud owner of a green bike and a kid-sized Pontiac Solistice.

With a smile on his face, Tyler walked around the bike, honking its black horn and giggling at its squeak.

He read the card with his mom, Holly, which explained that the human resources staff at College of the Canyons had granted his wish.

Next was a quick drive in the red Pontiac as he maneuvered around the lawn with help from Allison Korse-Devlin, director of student development for COC and volunteer Mike Wilding. Korse-Devlin and Wilding delivered the bike and mini car.

Tyler was one of 22 kids and teens - all battling cancer - who had their wishes granted by the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and College of the Canyons on Saturday.

The event, in existence since 2002, has the simple goal of putting a smile on a child's face, explained Anita Seibert, outreach program coordinator for the Hoefflin Foundation, the local nonprofit that offers cancer support for children and their families.

Scott Schauer, executive director for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, explained that the annual day of gift giving is a "big thrill" for the participants and gift givers as it is a way to make a difference.

This year, a little over 20 kids from the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding cities were given toys bought by the various departments at College of the Canyons.

One teenager received a big-screen television while other youngsters received dolls, bikes and passes to Disneyland.

Holly Cordova said that the foundation called her over a month ago, asking what her son, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2007, would like to wish for.

"He asked quickly for a bike," she said, as Tyler rode the exact bike he wished for around the driveway, receiving cheers from his father, Derek.

The Solistice later turned out to be a bonus gift for the Helmers Elementary School student.

Cordova said after the diagnosis, Tyler spent his first month in the hospital.

He received chemotherapy treatment for two years.

Tyler is now cancer free, but regularly visits the hospital for check ups.

As Tyler continued switching between toys, Holly was smiling, explaining her gratitude to COC and the Hoefflin Foundation for creating "such a bright spot in his day."

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