Family Celebrates Christmas in July to Help Others in Memory of Daughter

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CLIVE, Iowa –It's beginning to look like Christmas inside the Storbeck’s garage. “Christmas is year-round at the Storbeck’s,” said Jen Storbeck.

"Yes, we always have two Christmas trees here, and we just look forward to the event,” she added.

The family started throwing Princess Camryn’s Christmas in July in 2012 after their daughter Camryn was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Jen said, “It was an opportunity for us to give back to families who were in the hospital because we had been there the year prior. We spent a lot of time there in the summer, missed out on a lot of activities.”

Camryn attended the first two celebrations. “She loved to greet people, she loved to take items, she loved to look at everything,” said her mom.

Camryn died in April of 2014, but her family continued the event in her memory. “We really wanted to do something to honor our daughter and it's been a great venue that we've been able to introduce her to other people,” said Dad Paul Storbeck.

Sister Codi said, “I'm surprised how many people come every year because our entire lawn is full of people.”

Brother Chase added, “There`s just a whole bunch of people, and there`s a pile of presents there.”

The Storbeck family collects items for Blank Children's Hospital and Children’s Cancer Connection. Jen said, “Blank has a high need right now for color books, board books, Play-Doh, acrylic paints.”

Children’s Cancer Connection needs items like XBOX One games, Perler beads, Duct Tape, nail polish, and toilet paper. “Toilet paper is awesome because the kids love to TP at camp," said Jen.

The event has collected more than 5,000 items in the past. Jen said, “And the last couple of years we've been pretty consistent with 3,500 to 3,800 items and roughly about $2,500."

Princess Camryn benefited from both organizations, which is why her family continues to celebrate Christmas in July. Codi said, “I think she would say this is wonderful. That all her friends and family would be there to celebrate her and for all the people who have cancer and everything.”

Paul added, “We`re always going to miss her, but we can do some things that we can have fun and think about her memory. It`s awesome.”

Christmas in July is Friday, July 12 from 5 to 10 p.m. at 1941 NW 81st Street in Clive. The Clive Fire Department will be there along with princesses from Little Princess Parties, and Santa.

Blank Children’s Hospital Child Life Wish List:

Spanish toddler-school age books, board books, Play-Doh and Play-Doh Plus, Coloring books, Nowstalgic Magical Hippie Sticks, Pop Toobs, Clown Fish Water Wiggler,

Miscellaneous items: Birthday party hats, banners, signs and streamers, birthday and generic gift bags-various sizes, Darice Embossing Multi-Purpose heat tool, Ranger Embossing Powder, Liquid Platinum, Copper, Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad

All toys must be new, they cannot accept stuffed animals because of infection control, no food or candy, gifts must be latex free, gifts must be non-violent.

Gift cards are always appreciated. The Child Life Department is fully stocked with art supplies, over-the-door basketball hoops, Barbies and Disney Princess dolls, super hero figurines, and all board games, card games, and puzzles.

Children’s Cancer Connection Wish List:

Bulk candy, XBOX One games, current DVD/Blu Ray movies, toilet paper for TPing, masking tape, duct tape, crochet thread (large spools), Perler beads, stickers, sidewalk chalk, nail polish, individual snack packs, acrylic paint, easel paper rolls, new children’s books (all reading levels), pizza gift cards.

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