Legos and Team Sasha

Kids have the most marvelous ways of remembering special things and special people. Sometimes, one toy captures a host of memories.

For instance, Legos were one of my favorite toys as a child. The idea that you could build anything you imagined made for hours of fun with those colorful little snap-together plastic pieces.

Legos became one of Sasha Okhotskiy’s favorite toys too while he was a patient here at Children’s Medical Center. Sasha spent many days making highly complex Lego creations in his hospital room and at home while being treated for a form of brain cancer. Ultimately, Sasha lost that battle in August 2009 after a recurrence of the disease.

A special gift to Children’s
However, Sasha’s love of Legos lives on through a special gift to the hospital provided by a group of his friends. They call themselves Team Sasha in his honor and they are a group of 11- and 12-year-olds who grew up playing basketball and soccer with their friend at the Plano Sports Authority. On June 7, the team visited Children’s to give a huge boost to the number of Legos we have to offer patients.

In fact, Team Sasha collected some 400 Lego kits for the hospital in Sasha’s memory, comprising thousands of individual pieces and toted in by the armload. There were so many Lego kits that they took up the Okhotskiy’s entire living room and then grew beyond that, said Sasha’s father, Sergei. The team’s donation was part of the community project SLANT 45 (Service Learning Adventures in North Texas), a project of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee designed to have impacts on the North Texas area long after the Super Bowl has concluded early next year.

Watch a video of Team Sasha’s visit to the hospital.

Sasha never stopped fighting
Sasha’s friends said Sasha never stopped fighting even to the last minute and Legos gave him something to occupy his time and his hands. Mr. Okhotskiy fondly recalled a Taj Mahal that Sasha had built and an Eiffel Tower that he and Sasha completed with more than 6,000 pieces to it. Sasha’s favorite Legos had a “Star Wars” theme.

It’s kids like Team Sasha’s members that give me hope for the future, knowing that they loved their friend so much and decided to honor him in such an original way, a way that reflects in part who Sasha was. A toy indeed can capture memories.

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