Happy 26th Birthday Gabby!

As Gabby’s 26th birthday approaches on March 3rd, I am filled with memories of her infectious zest for life. Her crooked smile, love of knock-knock jokes, and adventurous spirit, even at the age of 6, remind us of the incredible joy she brought to everyone around her.

In the short months between her diagnosis and her passing, Gabby lived life to the fullest. She waterskied, rode horses, took tennis lessons, and even won the Hula hoop contest at her kindergarten field day. It was her love for fun and adventure that inspired the creation of the original Bag of Fun.

Gabby’s dream was to spread happiness, and thanks to you, we’re making that dream a reality. Your continued support allows us to bring smiles to children facing illness, just as Gabby would have wanted.

As we celebrate Gabby’s life and the impact we’ve made together, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your support. Here’s to Gabby, and to many more years of bringing joy to children in need!


Tammy Signature

Bags of Fun 20 year Logo

Help us celebrate 20 years!

On the 3rd of every month, we will celebrate Gabby by sharing some of our favorite memories. Follow us on Social Media and check out the home page for 20 year updates.

Learn how you can contribute to the 20th year

Volunteer Spotlight: Bring Out the Bags 2023 Co-chairs Catherine Winter and Susan Buckheit

Catherine and Susan are two of the most energetic and thoughtful women that we know. They put their heart and soul into creating an event that was not only fun for everyone that attended, but also showed that the “Power of Play” is incredibly powerful. Bags of Fun’s vision is to deliver joy, laughter and relief to every child in Colorado whose health and happiness is compromised due to a long term or life altering illness, well, these ladies definitely delivered this. This event raised enough money for us to deliver Bags to almost 350 children in the fight of their lives, as well as introduced many new families to our program. This was Catherine’s second year chairing and Susan’s first, but they have both been around the Bags of Fun community for many years. They, along with their families, have been part of many fundraising adventures with Bags of Fun including; Sundance Hills Swim-a-Thon, Cherry Creek Power Week, Bake sales, lemonade stands, Wheels of Dreams, June Jam and countless others. We are so thrilled to announce that these two remarkable ladies have agreed to co-chair Bring Out the Bags for our 20th year! Thank you to Susan and Catherine.

Avs Better Halves joined us to fill the Bags they sponsored!

Bags of Fun is blessed to be one of four beneficiaries of the Avs Better halves Christmas Tree Sale. Every year, the Avs better Halves decorate Christmas trees that are auctioned off to the public. Their donation will help us deliver over 30 Bags of Fun to adolescents facing a mental health challenge, as well as 15 Bags of Fun to kids fighting long term life threatening medical conditions.

On May 23rd, the Avs Better Halves joined us to fill the Bags they sponsored. We had a great morning getting to know the ladies and filling bags that will bring joy, laughter, and relief to kids all over Colorado.

We are so grateful for the continued support of Kroenke Community relations department and the Colorado Avalanche Avs Better Halves. Thank you, Melissa, Tracy, Maya ,Kailey, Kendra, Charlotte Susanna, Jacklyn Madison! We are so appreciative of your support and HANDS ON help! And a huge Thanks to Deb and Heather from Kroenke Community relations for all their hard work for the Colorado Community.

Let’s Get Together

Bags of Fun believes in the power of play to encourage happiness through a tough time. There is no better way to celebrate the power of play than to invite you to join us at our fantastic events!

These events are also a place where our bag recipients, caregivers, medical providers, donors and volunteers come together to celebrate. This year, we look forward to seeing you as we celebrate the power of play, community, and togetherness.

Owen’s Story

Owen was diagnosed with a brain mass on March 15th 2015. We went to the Children’s Hospital just expecting to do an MRI to see that everything was fine and that Owen’s primary care doctor was wrong about his head size. When we got to the hospital even the doctor said “we will do an MRI but nothing is wrong with your son” so we were planning our day as he went back to for the MRI.

When we went back to the room for the results, I could tell something was up. The doctor came in and just looked at me and said, “ I don’t know how to tell you this but your son has a mass on his brain and we have to admit you.” My world was turned upside down. Not only was I not expecting this in a million years, every part of my body felt like it shattered. I just remember crying every night.

We were probably in the hospital for 3 weeks waiting for a plan, when one day after we were wandering the hospital floors, we came back to our room and there was a backpack waiting on Owen’s bed. It said Bags of Fun. I just remember in that moment thinking how amazing this was. To everyone else this was just a bag filled with toys to keep Owen busy in the hospital but to me it was more. It made me think that someone packing this bag was thinking of my son. They probably had no idea what we were going through, the pain, the heartbreak and to receive this bag gave us smiles. Our son could be a kid and play with toys and they were just for him. We love our backpack too, we now use it as Owen’s diaper bag because it just reminds me that people out there do care about these kids with cancer and just this thoughtful gesture means the world to families like mine when you’re alone and sad in the hospital. It actually brings a smile in a time of darkness.

Kyndall’s Bag of Fun

Kyndall was diagnosed with a very rare Telomere Biology Disorder. The telomere length in all her cells are critically short. This can potentially lead to various organs failing throughout the course of her life. Her bone marrow has been the first organ to fail. We found out in 2020 that she would need a bone marrow transplant. Her 12 year old sister was a perfect match and donated her bone marrow to her little sister.

Kyndall was admitted to University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska at the end of August 2020 to begin 8 days of chemo. She received her Bags of Fun after she had a dose of radiation. We were both blown away by how amazing the bag was. There were TONS of amazing crafts, games and activities that were perfect for a 6 year old girl. The items included unicorns, princesses, crafts and jewelry which were all of her favorite things! Every single pocket of the backpack was full! All of those gifts helped us all feel extra special and loved. It was a true blessing to have so many choices of crafts and activities to help keep her busy over the next 4 weeks of her hospital stay. Thank you for so generously bringing joy to our family during that time. We are forever grateful!

Mile’s Bag Story

Miles is our sweet spunky 4year old that was diagnosed with a Glioma on his optic nerve 10/7/2020. While his tumor is not removable the docs had to preform a craniotomy to collect a biopsy. Miles started chemo therapy 12/7 and is undergoing weekly treatments at Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs. Miles was so excited about his Bag of Fun. With the help of his 10 year old brother Liam he unpacked loads of stuff (his favorites are the stack um robots, the squiggle worms and the back pack itself!) It comes with us each doctor visit – it’s become our routine to “pack our bag of fun for the doctor” and Miles proudly shows up to get his treatments.
Thank you, truly from the bottom of our hearts. It’s organizations like Gaby’s foundation and Bags of fun that really are instrumental in healing Miles spirits as he navigates his journey to health!

– From Mile’s mom, Alainna Rankins