Gabriella Miller, Letters to Santa for the Make-A-Wish Foundation
One of the things that makes this time of year stand out is the incredible acts of kindness. And right now there's a massive effort to help a girl, who's fighting cancer. Thousands have answered the call to help her - by helping others.
UPDATE - Gabriella Millers goal of 10,000 letters to Santa was shattered. Tuesday night, they counted nearly 21,500 letters. They have set a new goal of 50,000 letters.
Check out the previous coverage on Gabriella's story below.
Everyone's heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The organization raises funds so children with serious medical conditions can fulfill a dream.
A local girl facing and fighting cancer is turning her darkest moment into a movement of giving that will help other children.
Early Saturday, when most children sleep in, Headmaster Randy Hollister welcomed scores of parents and students into Loudoun County Day School. They came to share in a Christmas tradition and write letters to Santa. But these requests to Saint Nick are more like a written prayer than an appeal for a coveted toy.
"I'm asking for a cure for cancer so she's going to be ok," said one letter writer.
The letters are selfless. Just like Gabriella Miller - the 9-year-old student who inspired this gathering. Only a few weeks ago Gabriella began getting headaches. Her father Mark says an MRI revealed an inoperable brain tumor in a precocious 4th grader who has the poise of a politician, the heart of a saint and the courage of a warrior.
Gabriella's condition qualified her to travel to Paris through the Make-A-Wish foundation. To get through the arduous chemo and radiation treatments, she thinks about her spring of 2013 trip, calling it her bright shining star.
"She knows that when things get tough she has that to look forward to,” said Mark Miller, Gabrielle’s father. “And other kids can do that to."
In a packed cafeteria, For every letter to Santa delivered to Macy’s, the department store will donate a dollar to Make-A-Wish. Gabriella's challenge: write 10,000 letters.
"When I heard about the brain tumor it felt just so strange and sad,” said Sophia Halstead, Gabriella’s friend. “I really didn't like it. And now that I'm here I feel like I'm doing something good."
And only days after a Facebook page was created detailing her story of struggle and philanthropy, letters began pouring in from all corners of the world.
Organizers are now convinced that a little girl's empathy and her community's determination will easily add up to 10,000 letters, insuring that another child, like Gabriella, will get their wish too.
And Gabriella Miller has every intention of beating back cancer because she knows that Paris, her bright shining star, awaits.
The 10,000 letters to Santa will be delivered to Macys on December 23rd. Gabriella is expected to finish her round of cancer fighting treatments right before her 10th birthday in mid-January.