A Santa surprise in Nicetown - Philadelphia News

NICETOWN - December 24, 2008 Today, Santa caravanned to Nicetown to make a special early visit.

Santa was there to see Makyra Crippen, who has spent two of her three years in and out of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

"She has sickle cell right now, she's been getting blood transfusions done, almost two years now. Last year she almost had a stroke on the right side of her brain," Ebony Crippen, Makyra's mother, said.

And not only was there a bag full of clothes and toys for Makyra, there were also gifts for her brother and sister, even pajamas for mom.

"I think it's just a blessing," Ebony said.

For over 20 years, the Committee to Benefit Children has had a sole focus: helping the sick kids of St. Christopher's get home for a Christmas visit, made even better by Santa and his gift bag.

"It may see like a fleeting moment for many, but to these kids this is something they're going to cherish for months to come," Jim McCloskey of the Committee to Benefit Children said.

20 years ago, when the committee began this program, they saw 14 kids, this year 8 Santas will pull 10 hour days and see 163 families.

Because of Action News, Santa was ready for an icy trek from his workshop.

"I listened to Cecily Tynan last night; we get that in the North Pole," Santa said.

He also had lots of helpers, many of whom show up year after year to raise money, buy and wrap gifts, and dress up as elves.

Then Santa gave out hugs and was off.

Leaving behind a little girl was too happy to think about being sick; her smile as bright as Rudolph's nose.

More coverage for the holidays from 6abc.com

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