11-year-old with incurable illness is community hero

- She's proof that good things come in small packages. Kelsey Perry doesn't let a devastating disease stop her from making the world a better place.

She was diagnosed two years ago with Alexander disease, which is a progressive and fatal neurological disease. Since her diagnosis, she has had many appointments, surgeries and feeding tubes, and just recently underwent a spinal surgery where she had two rods and 26 screws put in her back.

But Kelsey, now 11 years old, is fighting through the symptoms with courage and dignity and has helped others in her community in a number of ways.

She has raised more than $18,000 for Make a Wish Foundation as a way to give back after receiving her own Make a Wish Trip to Disney. She also collections donations for local animal shelters and school supplies for local schools, and even enjoys putting Random Acts of Kindness cards in random places.

Her favorite event, though, is the toy drive she's done for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital for the past two years. The first year, Kelsey tells us she received 140 toy donations, and her drive has grown every year. Her second year she got around 200 toys -- but this year she has more than 700 toys and is still getting donations.

"I want them to be able to have something for Christmas because sometimes they can't get out of the hospital," Kelsey says.

If you'd like to donate a toy, here are some drop off locations in Belleville:

- Woodstone Grill
- Belleville Area Museum
- Tuscan Manor
- Belleville Pointe Apartments
- Waters Edge Apartments
- Anytime Fitness

You can join Team Kelsey and stay updated on her toy drive at her Facebook Page, Team Kelsey - Community Hero Fighting Alexander Disease.

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