Living with a high blood pressure disease that has caused blackouts and seizures, Lyzzi Elliott, 28, of Grayslake, has spent several holidays in a place no one wants to be—a hospital.
She's made it her mission to bring Christmas cheer to others in the same situation, by collecting holiday ornaments to donate to hospitals throughout Illinois and Wisconsin.
Elliott said she was inspired to establish HOPE Ornaments seven years ago after bringing an ornament to her friend's daughter, who was hospitalized with leukemia.
"The moment she saw the ornament she smiled, and it changed everything," said Elliott, who understands what it's like to be stuck in a hospital bed for the holidays instead of celebrating at home with family and friends.
Elliott's goal is to collect 5,000 ornaments for donation. She's well on her way having already collected more than 2,100.
"It leaves me speechless," said Elliott of the number of ornaments residents and businesses have donated.
Donations have also come in from 17 states as well as England, Norway and Spain.
Elliott accepts donations throughout the year. Any donation made by Dec. 21 will be delivered to hospitals in time for Christmas 2012. Donations made after Christmas will be held and donated next year.
About 35 volunteers help to deliver the ornaments to area hospitals.
HOPE Ornaments accepts unwrapped new, gently used and handmade ornaments for infants, children, teens, adults and seniors, as well as clear cellophane bags and ribbons in holiday colors.
Something's Brewing locations in Grayslake, at 82 Center St. (downtown) and at 1126 E. Washington St. (in the Washington Square plaza across from the College of Lake County) are designated drop-off sites.
Elliott also accepts donations at her home, located at 562 Second St., in Grayslake. Call (847) 903-5565.