A North Port couple who tragically lost their 5-year-old son earlier in August set out to honor his memory Thursday by donating thousands of toy cars to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

  • Sawyer Gordon, 5, hit by a truck while on his bicycle on August 9
  • Sawyer was previously a patient at Johns Hopkins All Children's
  • Parents wished to give back in a way that Sawyer would have loved

For Summer and Reppard Gordon, the trip to unload the multitude of toy cars for the young patients at the hospital was an emotional one.

The last time they were there, they left without their youngest son. Five-year-old Sawyer Gordon was killed on August 9 when he was hit by a truck while riding his bicycle.

At the time, the Gordons said it was their faith that was keeping them going.

"What's getting us through is that God has a plan, and we trust him, and I know I will see our son again," Summer said.

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Sawyer, a special needs student at Pinnacle Academy in Bradenton, loved to play with Matchbox Cars.

Photo: Summer and Reppard Gordon

"He loved Matchbox Cars so much, even when I came home from the hospital after he passed away, I laid in his bed and found three Matchbox cars hidden under his pillow," said Summer.

Friends and loved ones were encouraged to bring Sawyer’s favorite toy to his celebration of life on August 12.

"We walked into church service, celebration of life and they had all these displayed out,” said Reppard. “Really an emotional time where all these people who had come, basically brought cars with them.”

Cars like the ones that brought smiles to Sawyer’s face while he went to appointments at Johns Hopkins All Children’s.

"Just a month ago, we were here for a test and it was a little traumatic for him," said Summer. "They gave him this awesome little motorcycle and for weeks he would say, 'I need my motorcycle, motorcycle.'"

The Gordons wanted to bring those smiles to other children, while honoring their son’s memory.

"I just thought giving back and bringing them here was such a perfect fit so that these kiddos that are going through health struggles and challenges and tests, they can just be kids for a few minutes and take their mind off whatever the reason that they're here is," said Summer.

Kristin Maier, director of the Child Life Department at the hospital, received the donation and says Sawyer’s memory will live on through each one of these cars.

"This was a tragic situation and this family had so much unselfishness that they thought about giving back to other children and taking care of other children and helping their son's life and legacy live on through a gift to the children, who are still going through different kinds of treatment and care," said Maier.

The toys will be distributed throughout the hospital for patients to enjoy.

"I hope that they bring them joy, I hope that they can bring them a smile," said Summer.