EAST AURORA, N.Y. — When it comes to the losing cups in Tim Hortons "Roll Up the Rim" contest, most people just throw them away. But a little girl from East Aurora found a way to turn trash into treasure, and she is using them to sweeten up the lives of others.
With each losing Tim Hortons "Roll Up The Rim" cup 6-year-old Abby Hays collects, she feel like she has won. In fact, Abby and her mom Hilary have gone to great lengths to find them.
"We may or may not have been seen around Western New York digging through garbage cans. We had hoods and sunglasses on so we wouldn't be recognized," said Hilary Hays.
They wanted the losing cups because of a promotion posted on the Instagram page of Niagara by Frey Premium Chocolates. For every cup you turn in you get a Niagara Chocolates candy bar. The limit was 10. After Abby collected that many, she told her mom she couldn't eat all the chocolate and she had an idea to give her candy bars away.
"We're giving the candy bars to people at Roswell," Abby said.
She enlisted the help of friends, family, teachers and fellow Girl Scouts help collect the cups. They had a goal of collecting 35 cups and soon that number grew much larger.
"It just blew up. It's really amazing," said Hilary.
And at last count she collected 500 cups.
Niagara Chocolates was so moved by Abby's effort, they decided to match it.
"We wanted to help in our own way and contribute to what she was doing and so every cup she brought in we gave her two candy bars instead of one," said Joe Annunziato, Business Development Manager at Niagara Chocolates. "So we matched her hard work with a little extra candy to shed a little bit more joy at Roswell."
Abby knows Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center all too well. Her dad, Kevin Hays, has been battling colon cancer there for the last five years. That's as long as Abby can remember.
The cancer is now stage 4 and it has spread and the prognosis is not good. Kevin dedicated this time he has to his wife and three young children, and to spreading the message of early colorectal screening.
See Kevin's message of advocacy about colon cancer screening by clicking here.
"Giving back and community service is an important part of who we are," he said.
That's his legacy little Abby intends to carry her dad's legacy on, starting with handing out the candy bars she earned.
"It absolutely melts my heart," said Hilary. "It makes me so happy that she's such a giving, loving little girl."
Abby will be handing out approximately 1,000 Niagara Chocolates bars at 10 am on Friday, April 19, in the lobby of Roswell.
By the way, she hasn't even eaten one of those candy bars herself because she's given up chocolate for Lent!