By Libby Hopkins

There is an old saying that states, “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” Bill Brown founded the Cookson Hills Toy Run with his wife Sheri in 1993. For the last 21 years, the couple made sure those in need received Christmas gifts from their toy run.

“In our 21-year legacy, over 8,000 individuals received merry Christmas memories and everyone who helped us with the toy run got to experience its magic,” Sheri said.

The couple had to step down from hosting the toy run in 2014 due to health issues, namely Bill’s. In 1994 he was diagnosed with pancreatic and bile duct cancer. Over the years, Bill battled cancer and other health problems. This past November, Bill passed away.

“Bill was an awesome, generous, gentle man with an easy smile and a very special charisma with a magical note in his voice that drew people in to him,” Sheri said. “He impacted everyone he came in contact with and he left them with a happy heart.”

“Through the past 20 years, we have been very blessed that God gave us so much extra time together,” Sheri said. “I am positive God waited until he absolutely needed Bill and I know Bill has become one of God’s angel warriors.”

Bill Brown’s celebration of life will be held on January 30, 2016 at The Brandon Elks Lodge from 4–8 p.m. Brown said the celebration will reflect the uniqueness that was her husband.

“Those who have been touched by him are welcome to attend,” Sheri said. “He met people all across the country and many people are expected to attend.”

Since the Brown’s have helped so many people from the Brandon community, those involved with the toy run are hoping the community will support Sheri in helping with her husband’s celebration of life event.

“The Elks Lodge will be catering the event, but we would like some desserts donated, enough for 300 people,” Sheri said. “We ask that those who would like to donate to please contact me prior to the event.”

To make a donation to Bill Brown’s celebration of life event, send your donation to Bill’s Cancer Challenges, P.O. Box 113, Seffner, Fl. 33583-0113 or email Sheri Brown at You can also make a donation to Bill Brown’s Go Fund Me account, Bill’s Cancer Challenges at The Brandon Elks Lodge is located at 800 Centennial Lodge Dr. in Brandon.

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.