With just two words, a group of energetic children took over the toy aisles of the Evans Target on Tuesday.
The children eagerly chanted "Let's shop" before roaming the store and jump-starting the fifth annual Shop With A Doc event.
More than two dozen children, who have been treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, were given $150 Target gift cards to shop for holiday gifts. They were paired with doctors, nurses and other medical staff from the burn center, in addition to county officials.
"All of these children have been injured in one way or another," said Dr. Fred Mullins, medical director of the center. "That's can be painful and physiologically damaging."
The event, sponsored by the Southeastern Firefighters' Burn Foundation, helps to reintegrate some of the pediatric burn patients back into society and brighten their spirits, Mullins said.
"It makes you feel warm inside," he said.
The children were picked up from Doctors Hospital in limousines and taken to the Target in Mullins Crossing in style.
"I do not need another Barbie house," Carlie Godbee said to her parents and shopping partner, Robyn Kohlbusch, a staff member at the burn center. "I love roller skating."
The 9-year-old from Port Wentworth, Ga., has undergone 30 surgeries since she was burned at the age of 4 when a bottle of bug spray rolled onto a citronella candle outdoors and caught fire.
Carlie was busy filling her cart with a SpongeBob SquarePants hopping ball, Sims 3 computer game and other toys.
"Last year, I had two buggies full," she said.
Her stepfather, William Barr, said it's special to visit with the doctors outside a medical setting.
"It's more than just coming up and seeing the doctors," Barr said. "It's actually interacting with the doctors ... on a fun basis instead of a professional basis."
The Red Robin mascot, Red, also visited with the children.
"You get to give back to all these little kids who have been (down) a tough road," said Dr. Meyer Schwartz. "It's the least we can do."
Evans resident Nash Garrett said he's very appreciate of the medical team at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center.
In April, his 2-year-old son, Nash Garrett Jr., was treated at the center after grabbing a hot iron.
"I can't say enough about the staff," said Garrett, an investigator with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. "It was like they took you in like you were family.
"To do something like this is very generous."
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