Leave it to the "Forever Kids" to bring smiles that will last at least that long, to young patients at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch.

"Forever Kids" (front) Billy Tonino and (Row 2, l-r) Avary Tonino, Brayden Tansey, Abigail Tansey, Sophie Mae Tonino with Kristin Kuhl, Debra Petersen of Monmouth Medical Center and Ashley Boyd of MMC Foundation (Monmouth Med. Ctr.)


Five children in the Tonino and Tansey families of Howell gave themselves the label as they gave of their own time and resources to raise $300 for the child life program at the Center's Unterberg Children's Hospital.

That's a significant undertaking. What was their driving force? "The children lost their grandfathers very early, which influenced their determination to help others," said mom Kristy Tonino in a release issued by the hospital. "They just want to bring a smile to other kids' faces."

The Toninos - Avary, 9; Sophie Mae, 6; and Billy, 2 - teamed with the Tanseys - Abigail, 8, and Brayden, 6 - selling woven "rainbow-loom" bracelets and peddling lemonade until they amassed the sum.

Then they set off for the hospital, bringing several dozen "treasure bags" filled with mini-skateboards, notepads, stickers and other items to keep young patients entertained. They distributed eight and left 32 more for future admittees.

The Unterberg Children's Hospital treats patients from newborns to adolescents, in 32 specialty categories.