GARDNER, Kan. — Nearly 6 months to the day since 7-year-old Tanner McCullough died, his parents Kay and Josh McCullough are giving back to other kids spending Christmas in the hospital.

For Kay McCullough, it’s the things that she misses about her son that inspire her to continue to give.

“His hugs were the best. I really miss his hugs,” Kay said.

Tanner battled cancer for more than a year, but his family said what defined him was the joy and the purpose with which he lived.

“He loved life more than anybody else. I know,” Kay said. “He loved every single thing about life.”

Earlier this year Tanner’s Make-A-Wish dream came true, and miracle workers brought his personal “Tank Camper” to life.

“He called it the ‘Turtle Tank’ because he loves turtles and his nickname was tank, so he even designed a whole flag for it and everything,” Kay said.

But his time with the camper was short — Tanner died in June.

During many of the days and nights he spent in the hospital, his favorite thing to do was to play with his Legos. Now his parents are giving back in his honor – so his legacy never goes away.

“Just the little bit of joy that even a Lego kit brings to a kid stuck in the hospital is so immense that we wanted to be able to pay that forward,” Kay said.

They’re filling his “Tank Camper” with Lego kits, via donation, to take to kids in Kansas City area hospitals. That way they to can find a bit a joy this holiday season in the midst of the pain.

“If we can bring smiles to other people’s faces — and at the same time, they’re thinking of Tanner, and that keeps him alive in a sense — as a mom, that’s all I can ask for at this point,” Kay said.

If you would like to donate, you can do so online here. You can also give in person at one of the donation centers in the Kansas City area:

  • The Mane on Main, 611 E. Main St., Gardner, KS
  • KC Winair Company, 9980 Lakeview Ave., Lenexa, KS