Women’s Hall of Fame

Nancy Torres

Nancy Torres celebrates 25 years as the “toy lady.” In 1979 she started a non-profit organization called “A Very Special Toy Box” serving thousands of young cancer patients and their families. The first toy box, built by her husband, Stag, was placed in the oncology ward at Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City. Children with cancer, receiving bone marrow, chemotherapy, radiation and spinal treatments, can unlock the toybox and choose a new toy. Since then her toy box project has expanded to children’s cancer wards throughout the Bay Area, Northern California and three hospitals in Southern California. The “toy lady” now serves eleven hospitals equipped with a pediatric oncology unit. The children who benefit from the Toy Box project range in age from infants to late teens. All items placed in the boxes must be sealed and packaged properly to prevent infection and allergic reactions. The amount of toys needed monthly to fill these toy boxes is approximately 1850 toys. Nancy and her supporters also organize special parties for the yearly picnic for outpatients. A “Very Special Toy Box” is operated out of Nancy’s home in Redwood City and her identity remains anonymous to the children and their families. Nancy was honored by KRON-TV for her tireless and generous giving and several years ago was featured in Parent Magazine. For the past five years the students of Junipero Serra High School have chosen to support her by collecting toys and donating money for the toy box during the holiday season. Nancy is motivated partly be losing her father to cancer twenty-eight years ago and by her love for children.
*This biography and photo of the honoree was published in .

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