ALTOONA – The employees of Warnaco, Duncansville, donated Easter baskets filled with art supplies, books and toys to Altoona Regional’s Pediatrics Unit as part of an annual event called “Eli’s Easter.”
Lisa Shawley, Warnaco employee, explained that Eli’s Easter began with a little boy named Elias Garrett, who was born May 17, 2005, and diagnosed in September of 2007 with T-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In 2008, Shawley and another Warnaco employee, Melony Lewis, came up with the idea to have fellow employees purchase items to create Easter baskets for Eli to take to Pittsburgh to give to his friends and fellow patients.
In 2009, Shawley and Lewis decided to continue Eli’s Easter, and baskets were sent, once again, to Pittsburgh. Eli died May 7, 2009, just shy of his fourth birthday.
Warnaco employees have continued the tradition every year since 2008. Eli’s father, Martin Garrett, and great-aunt, Linda Henderhan, deliver baskets every year to Pittsburgh. Shawley and Lewis decided this year to include Altoona Regional’s Pediatrics Unit in Eli’s Easter for children here to enjoy the baskets as well.
Shawley said, “We enjoy it more than words can say. We hope the kids liked the items we sent and hope everyone had an awesome Easter. Eli was a sweet little guy with a heart of gold.”
Because Warnaco is closing, next year Garrett plans to take over Eli’s Easter on his own. Garrett said, “I hope to make Eli’s Easter bigger than it’s ever been in 2014.”
For more information or to donate to Eli’s Easter in 2014, please contact Garrett at 814-215-8536.
Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which exists to secure charitable donations to help financially support exceptional health care for the well-being of all central Pennsylvania residents. Because the Foundation for Life is a qualified charitable organization, donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.