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Way to Go! Farmingdale student creates 'shell shop'

Dylan Hoffman bought toys for the Child Life

Dylan Hoffman bought toys for the Child Life program at NYU Winthrop Hospital Children's Medical Center. Credit: Michael Hoffman

A Farmingdale student inspired by his younger brother's treatment at an area hospital has been giving back to the facility in a creative way.

Dylan Hoffman, a first-grader at Saltzman East Memorial Elementary School, has sold about 125 shells that he collected from Robert Moses State Park and painted with colorful designs to benefit the Child Life program at NYU Winthrop Hospital Children's Medical Center. Designs ranged from stars to polka dots to flowers.

The project, which he called "Dylan's Shell Shop," netted about $2,300 in sales, his family said. He used to the proceeds to purchase nearly 100 toys — including action figures, play mats and children's books — which he presented to the hospital last month.

Dylan said he wanted to help the hospital because his brother, Owen, has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition in which an extra electrical pathway in the heart causes a rapid heartbeat. Owen, who is 18 months old, was treated at the hospital late last year.

"We collect the shells from the beach," Dylan said. "Some of them have a heart [design], and some of them have stripes, but I put different designs on each one."

To spread the word, Dylan's father, Michael, promoted his son's shell-decorating efforts on Facebook.

"We're really proud of our son; we keep telling him that," Michael said.

Dylan, 6, also plays soccer with the Farmingdale Soccer Club.

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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