NEW YORK (AP) — Storm guard Alysha Clark makes her biggest assists off the basketball court, at Seattle's Children's Hospital.
Through an annual drive, she has donated over 10,000 toys to the hospital, including over 2,000 this year.
This year she wanted to do more. Clark remembered a conversation she had with a young boy named Daniel she met there. He wanted to help other kids at the hospital. At his behest, she decided to try and raise $5,000 for the dialysis unit. At first, she was worried that maybe she had set the goal too high. Her worries soon faded as it took only four days for the goal to be surpassed .
"To me, its mind blowing and so amazing. All because of Daniel. He's been such an inspiration to me," Clark said. "Getting involved, giving back and doing more for others. The way he thinks about things inspired me to do more."
Clark said that she's already discussed with the director of the dialysis unit what they can do with the money.
"They can use it for however they need," she said. "Now they are talking about some other things. Whether it's educational videos or blankets or whatever makes these kids feel more comfortable, they'll get."
Clark also spends a lot of time on the cancer floor of the hospital when she visits. When she first started doing it, she admitted it was tough.
"In the beginning, it was really hard. You don't want to see anyone sick in the hospital, let alone a child. They are still finding their way in the world, and now they have to deal with real adult life issues. In the beginning, it was taxing on me. As I got to know the different families and children. The more I went, their resiliency and attitude was incredible. That to me was an inspiration. All you're going through and you're still finding a way to think of someone else."
The 32-year-old Clark, who was drafted in 2010, said that she's developed relationships with the families and kids that she's seen there. She said there's no better feeling when she gets a message on social media from a family saying they were going to be at an upcoming Storm game because the child had been released from the hospital. Unfortunately, Clark has seen the other side in which kids she had become close to or had met had passed away.
"It's tough. Just because you don't want to hear that," she said. "They are just getting life started and for it to end. You look at it from the flipside though, that they aren't suffering anymore."
Clark has brought along some of her Storm teammates, including Jewell Loyd. The pair delivered the toys this year a few weeks ago, pulling up to the hospital with a truckload of goodies for the kids.
"You see things in a different light and perspective and have more of an appreciation for what your life is," Loyd said. "Knowing we go and visit them and color or playing UNO and it makes them laugh and smile. What Alysha has done has been incredible."
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