A few weeks ago, a nine-year-old girl from Loudoun County, Virginia was diagnosed with a walnut-sized brain tumor. It's located in a part of her brain where surgery would be difficult, so Gabriella Miller is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
A counselor at Children's National Medical Center told Gabriella about the Make A Wish Foundation, which tries to accommodate the desires of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Gabriella announced: she wanted to see Paris.
At the same time, the national retailer, Macy's, is sponsoring a fund-raising drive for the Make A Wish Foundation. Macy's will donate a dollar per letter-to-Santa delivered to the retailer, up to one million letters.
Gabriella and her family decided to ask friends to send the Santa letters to Macy's. The effort has snowballed.
Dozens of kids (and their parents) gathered at the Loudoun Country Day School, Saturday morning, to engage in a massive letter-writing campaign. Her fellow students want the letters to Macy's to pour in, so there's enough funding for trips for kids like Gabriella.
"When I heard about this," explained seventh-grader Daphne Herrick, "I said, ‘We have to go to this thing on Saturday. We have to make as many letters as we possibly can. To help her out.' ... [Gabriella is] very strong. She's such a good girl. She's such a good student."
There's a "wish line" in the letters to Santa. Many of the kids, here, were making the same wish. Emily Wolner told us about her letters' wishes: "Mostly that [Gabriella] could get better."
The Wolner family, who were all writing the wish letters to Santa, happen to be Jewish. "We're doing anything we can to help Bri get her wish. Anything we can," said Darren Wolner. Lisa Wolner, Darren's wife, added, "It's not about religion, it's about supporting good friends of ours."
The local effort is generating thousands of wish letters to Santa, which Macy's will match dollar-for-dollar. Why does fourth-grader Gabriella Miller want to see Paris?
Her father, Mark Miller, shook his head and smiled, saying, "She's dreamed about it. She's heard about it. Her grandmother was there earlier in the year, and sent her back a beret, little trinkets, an Eiffel Tower."
Mr. Miller says his family is hoping to take their little girl to Paris sometime in the spring.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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