When Hope Doyle walked out of Mackenzie Saunders' hospital room more than a year ago she thought she would never see her again.
Mackenzie of Ahwatukee Foothills was inspired by Hope that day to start a video game drive, "Sharing Hope," in her honor. Over the 2010 Christmas vacation, Mackenzie collected 20 game systems to return the favor to other kids in the hospital.
"Now I feel how Hope felt," she said. "It's so crazy because seeing the smile on their faces, they said I made their Christmas, but they definitely made mine."
The girls reunited this past weekend after Heidi Doyle, Hope's mother, found out about Mackenzie's collection effort and contacted the Saunders family.
"When I heard about it, I went online and saw Mackenzie on a video saying ‘Hope, if you are out there, come find me,'" Hope said. "I couldn't believe she was actually doing this, but she was passing out video games at the hospital to kids in my name."
Hope has plans of her own to continue the "Sharing Hope" video game drive. There will be a donation box set up at her mother's store in Gilbert, Polka Dots and Popsicles, 2206 E. Williams Field Road.
"I want to keep doing this because I know it makes someone's Christmas and it made Mackenzie's Christmas," Hope said. "I hope we can go to the hospital and donate together."
It was Hope's mom who inspired the young girl to donate the Nintendo DS handheld video game system in the first place.
"At first I was like no way do I want to give it up," Hope said. "But I thought about it for a few days. I thought about how some kids in the hospital don't get anything for Christmas. I decided I would do it. I walked down the stairs with tears streaming down my face and I said, ‘Mom, I want to do it.'"
To contact the Doyles, call (480) 963-1101.