COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -- As a young girl, Amanda Vigil spent the majority of her holidays in the hospital.
"I was born with a cleft lip and palate. There is a bone on the roof of your mouth and I didn't have that bone until I was 10 years old," the Texas woman explained.
She said due to her condition, she was in and out of the hospital for multiple surgeries.
"I'm only 21 years old, so 12 surgeries seems like a lot, but there are kids that have had way more surgeries than I have had," said Vigil.
Not being able to be at home during the holiday season and knowing other children wouldn't be as well took a toll on her.
"I know there was one thing I really needed and that was just a smile," said Vigil.
During one of her surgeries 10 years ago, that all changed.
"I was receiving a bunch of cards from random strangers, and I thought, wow, this is cool!" Said Vigil.
For more than a decade, she's been returning the favor by making cards for patients at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
"I first started doing it after I received a card when I was there during Christmas and I knew how it made me feel, so, I thought to myself, why not make cards for the other kids in there?" said Vigil.
During the first year, she handmade 25 cards, but since then she had had even more support from people and organizations all over the Houston area and Brazos Valley.
"I started telling more and more people about it and now it's just blown up into something bigger than I could have ever imagined," said Vigil.
Now, organizations and businesses from all over the Brazos Valley send her cards to be delivered to the hospital. This year, she got more than 1,000 -- the most she's ever received.
"Some of them are pieces of art, they are so detailed and others have little toys in them, but I love the ones made by little kids the most," said Vigil.
She hopes the cards do for them what they used to do for her.
"They make me smile because they remind me of what it's like to be in the hospital and if I can smile, surely the kids will smile," said Vigil.
She plans to deliver the cards closer to Christmas and hopes other people take in consideration that there are children in the hospital that are not able to be at home, just like she was, during the holidays.