PERRY -- The socks just keep on coming for the Huff family as their charitable plans for their daughter's saviors gain momentum.
Ben and Carol Huff's 9-year-old daughter Lizzie underwent five brain surgeries at the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake during a six-week period in 2010. When they weren't sleeping in her hospital room, they spent many nights at the Ronald McDonald House, provider of rooms and meals for families of tots going through long-term care.
They still make regular visits to the hospital for follow-ups, which leaves Lizzie tearful to see all the girls and boys hospitalized as she was.
Primary Children's has regular Crazy Socks Days on the premises for staff and patients and the Perry family seized on that idea to cheer up Lizzie. The Huffs had already kept family and friends advised on Lizzie's progress on Facebook, so they announced their sock drive there. Ben, an investment counselor, also put the word out through co-workers of his multi-state firm.
"How many pairs?" Ben remembers asking Lizzie earlier this month.
"Oh, 108!" she announced for no particular reason.
On Friday alone, 244 pair came in -- 156 from Lizzie's dance class and 88 from Ben's co-workers, taking the total up to 642 pairs.
They've been arriving from all over the country: California, West Virginia, Arkansas, Idaho, Ohio, to name a few, with more on the way.
"It's become kind of a movement," Carol Huff said. "We've cried a lot."
The plan is to take the "fun and crazy" socks to the patients at Primary Childrens' on Wednesday so those who can't trick-or-treat can wear them the next day for Halloween.
"It's amazing with what she's been through the compassion she has," Ben said of his 9-year-old.
The Huffs also raised money to sponsor a meal -- cooking it and setting the table -- that same Wednesday evening at the Ronald McDonald House. Typically 60 or more people are staying at the house on South Temple as they receive their in-patient children at Primary Children's on the U of U campus.
The McDonald house is separate from the hospital, part of a non-profit national charity relying heavily on donations. The Salt Lake house is in the midst of a 40,000-square-foot expansion and remodeling project. Much of the fundraising is in for the $11 million project, according to ronaldmcdonaldhouseutah.org. But the site includes a wish list of furnishings the expansion will need.
The list includes everything from a hot-food buffet dish and a toaster for the kitchen, plus dishes and utensils, to a dining room table. There's shower curtains and a towel rack, etc., for bathrooms; curtains and an alarm clock, etc., for bedrooms; and a TV and DVD player, chairs, exercise equipment, etc., for the TV/rec room.
Naming opportunities are still available. A $2 million donor can have the entire Ronald McDonald site named for them.
The Salt Lake McDonald house opened in 1988 with 13 guest rooms, the 100th McDonald house to open. Now numbering 300 globally, according to the web site, the first opened in Philadelphia in 1974.
The site invites those who have stayed at the house, plus volunteers and donors, to post their stories.
Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238, firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister