Sun Sentinel: Have Legos to let go? Student collects sets for hospitals

Nearly five years ago, Dan Clein’s 4-year-old cousin was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer. For several months, he witnessed his cousin go through painful cancer treatments, spending much of that time in hospital rooms.

“We realized how little there is to do for children going through treatment,” said Clein, 18, a senior at Wellington High School, who wants to be a large animal veterinarian. “They can’t really be a kid or stimulate their creativity.”

The experience prompted Clein to start Bricks Busting Boredom, a nonprofit that collects new and used Lego bricks to give to children in hospitals across South Florida, including the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.

Last year, presenting his vision for Bricks Busting Boredom, Clein was selected as a finalist for the Palm Beach Philanthropy Tank, a competition in which students pitch creative initiatives and solutions to social issues. Philanthropist-investors then select the ideas and initiatives they will fund for a year.

“When a kid in the hospital walks over and sees a table full of Lego sets for them to choose, their eyes light up and they become just a child – not a sick child,” he said.

“I was impressed and inspired by the initiative that Dan took,” Devlin said in a statement.

“Knowing that we were getting ready to host a Lego event at The Gardens Mall, it became one of my first priorities to get in touch with him.”

During the event from April 28 to May 15, Bricks Busting Boredom will accept donations of new or used Lego sets, with an emphasis on small kits or Lego Duplo blocks.

All of the donations will donated to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

“We feel it’s our duty to weave philanthropy in as much as we can when hosting special events that are free and open to the public,” Devlin said. “It’s just another way that we can give back to our local communities.”

Kara Marante, director of children’s experience at the hospital, said, “Family and patient engagement is a significant part of a hospital journey.”

A hospital stay can be challenging, especially for children. We look at how we can best normalize and support a patient in that journey. Escaping that hospital experience and feeling like a kid again helps.”

“Donating these Legos is a lovely gesture that allows our patients to have free play, and be a kid again,” she said. “We’re very excited and appreciative of Daniel Clein and his philanthropic gesture and what it means to our patients and families.”

The Gardens Mall is at 3101 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens.

To donate Legos, email or vist