Young epilepsy patient selling handmade toys to support BC Children's Hospital

Caleb Philips, 12, has been crafting stuffed animals and selling them, with half the proceeds going to BC Children's Hospital's Child Life Department.

At just 12 years old, Caleb Philips has already started his first business – and the young entrepreneur is sharing the proceeds with a cause that’s close to his heart. 

In his spare time, Caleb makes and sells stuffed animals through his Facebook page, “Caleb’s Fluffles.” He then donates half the money to the Child Life Department at BC Children’s Hospital.

At the age of nine, Caleb was diagnosed with epilepsy, and he became acquainted with the Child Life program after complications from his seizures left him in hospital. 

According to his mom, Sarah Philips, the program was "life-changing."

"The program is very sweet, and it makes it a little bit easier being in the hospital for the kids. So, he's always really liked the Child Life program, and he's always talked about the Child Life program,” Sarah told CTV News.

The Child Life Department provides coping strategies to help children and their families deal with the stress of hospitalization. Sarah explained the program offers video game consoles, trips with Canucks players, therapy dogs, and craft kits for young patients.

Caleb got the idea to start crafting stuffed bunnies when his teacher asked students to develop a product they could sell in school for an entrepreneurship project. He saw how to make the “fluffles” online, and thought it was something he wanted to make for the school.

To make Caleb's fluffles, he stuffs socks with uncooked rice, then ties them with ribbon. They are $2 each for smaller bunnies and $3 for larger ones.

"I'm really hoping is that it will continue to expand for him to give him something to do because it's something he really likes, but also helping out Children's Hospital and the Child Life program is the biggest thing,” said Sarah.

In addition to bunnies, Caleb has started making stuffed owls and hopes to expand his project in the future.

So far, Caleb has earned $140 and donated $70 to the Child Life program.