La Salle College High School students, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children deliver holiday cheer to patients and their families

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With a 'ho, ho, ho', Santa and his team of elves from La Salle College High School gave a Rhawnhurst family a Christmas they will never forget.

Five-year-old Eric couldn't contain his glee when he unwrapped his gifts Tuesday, showing particular zeal over a 'Titanic' model boat that lights up.

Mother Debora Herdina told Action News, "He was really happy, and I'm really happy to see him that way."

This is the second Christmas since Eric was diagnosed with leukemia; he was treated at Saint Christopher's Hospital for Children.

For the 19th year, La Salle College High School has teamed up with the hospital to provide gifts for oncology and hematology patients and their families.

"It's important that we adopt the siblings as well and not just the patients, so we are bringing Christmas to the entire family. A lot of these families, without this program, would not be able to have Christmas," explained Chris Carabello from Lasalle College High School.

Thousands of toys were collected through drives, parties, and other families adopting other these families.

"It's a really, really great experience, being able to make somebody's Christmas, being the holiday cheer, and kind of cheer someone up in a tough time of their life," said senior Jake DeLuca.

Teams of students fanned out to 88 different homes in two states and 12 counties spreading Christmas joy.

"Seeing the look on the kids' faces when you walk in- it's irreplaceable," described senior Patrick Calahoun.

"It's important to have us all together here because there were really rough times especially for Eric," Herdina added.

She continued, "You know, you never know what's going to happen tomorrow so we're just thankful."
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