By Don Ford

LIVERMORE (KPIX) – An East Bay mom is honoring the memory of her son by putting smiles on people’s faces. When they donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, she gives them free ice cream.

Veronica Johnson, of Livermore, says it’s a way to honor her young son Dillon who died 20 years ago on July 27.

“Well, he was only 25 months old when he passed away. He had four open-heart surgeries,” says Johnson. “He had his first open-heart at 9 days old and unfortunately, on his fourth one, he passed away at 25 months.”

Veronica says she decided years ago to turn her grief into giving, bring nourishment to the needy and help donate to Make-A-Wish Foundation so other terminally ill children’s last days are a little easier.

The day began with a thank you to dozens of volunteers.

“Thank you for coming out, um, My heart is full, my heart is really full” exclaims Johnson.

Cars lined up to drop donations and receive ice cream. It’s a hot day. Some folks can hardly wait.

Ashley Cattmann is a very busy Mom. She has four kids climbing all over her in the car as they wait for the ice cream.

“Um, you know what. I’ve been losing my mind today but actually coming here makes you appreciate what you have. It’s testing my patience but I’m happy that I have then all!” says Cattmann.

One family donated a 50 lb. bag of rice. While food donations piled up, the team collected nearly $400 cash in just the first hour.

Livermore Mayor, John Marchand says it’s a good day for the city.

“It’s in the DNA of this community. This kindness and generosity and it continues today. I’m very proud of this community,” he says.

Thank you to Veronica and all the volunteers for helping all of us be, Better Together!

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