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In Role Reversal, Local Firefighter Needs the Public's Help

A product he invented to make sick children laugh while raising money for charity is competing to win a spot on Walmart shelves nationwide.

Roles are reversed and now a local Orange County firefighter and paramedic is asking the public for help.

When he's not saving lives, Steve Islava is the president of a Costa Mesa-based company called Care 2 Medical Products Inc. and has been inventing medical products for 15 years.

His most recent product, Laffy Laffalot, is a toy to make kids laugh while raising money for the National Children’s Cancer Society at the same time. Three dollars of every toy sold goes to the charity.

“I designed Laffy to help sick children and their families get through difficult times through laughter. Laughter is so important. It really is medicine to the mind and body,” Islava said. 

Here's where the public's help comes in. Laffy Laffalot is also competing in Walmart’s “Get on the Shelf” contest, which pits invention-against-invention, with the product receiving the most online votes landing a spot on Walmart’s shelves. 

Unlike some of the other products going head-to-head with Laffy, a win for the toy is not just about profits, said Care 2 Medical Products employee and local San Juan mom Katie McHenry.

“For Laffy, this would mean lots of smiles on kids faces and lots of funds for The National Children’s Cancer Society,” she said.

Laffy Laffalot's unique features include: Four buttons to record and play custom, comforting messages and a hilarious helium effect dial that alters any laugh or custom message for endless hours of fun.

Laffy Laffalot also comes with a built-in speaker, MP3 quality sound, headphones and two AA batteries.

“It is so difficult to imagine if my child was sick and what I would do to get him to laugh or smile. I joined forces with the National Children's Cancer Society and Miracles for Kids to raise money for the children and their families,” said Islava, a Newport Beach resident. “We donate $3 of every Laffy sold to the NCCS, and I would eventually like to help numerous other charities including Miracles for Kids, CHOC Hospital and Autism Speaks.”

Voting for Laffy involves one click of the mouse.

“If I won this contest, I would get a huge start in helping raise millions of dollars for these charities,” Islava said.

The first round of voting ends April 3, and if Laffy is a finalist there will be a second round from April 11-24. To view the Laffy Laffalot video and vote online, go to http://www.getontheshelf.com/product/4198/Laffy-Laffalot 

Marianne Viscuso March 22, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Oh this is wonderful, I lost my daughter who , at 12 , was diagnosed with a rare adult brain cancer and it was a grade4. I lost her when she was 18 , it was 2005 and yet I still cry every day without her. I love this idea, invention and I m behind this 100 percent!
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 22, 2012 at 09:42 PM
How horrific. I'm very, very sorry for your loss.

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