Young girl helping Santa this holiday season

Maddie's collection of books for children in hospitals over the holidays (KTVO)

A little girl who’s fighting a rare, incurable disease that we first told you about back in August, is now helping out Santa Claus this Christmas.

Six-year-old Maddie, from Milan, is collecting books and toys for other children at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City – a way of paying forward all the kindness she says she’s received.

Maddie, who has Gillian-Barre syndrome, epilepsy, and autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy, her Christmas morning memories are more often filled with hospital beds than her home for the holidays.

“Last year around the holidays, and the year before, around Thanksgiving and Christmas, she’s been in the hospital. We always seem to be in the hospital around this time of year,” said Maddie’s mom, Chelsea.

This year, Maddie is doing something to help other kids enjoy the season.

“I just thought it would be something really nice to do and it would be a lot of fun,” Maddie said with a big smile.

“At first, she thought that we should give everybody iPads there so they could work on their homework and stay caught up, because that’s something she struggles with when she’s there, and we use the iPad to Facetime her teacher and stuff like that, but we decided that was a little drastic and maybe we wouldn’t go that far, but it would be nice to give back to the little kids, especially the ones that are there without parents sometimes,” Chelsea said. “She met a friend there that didn’t have a parent for a long time, so I think it kind of bugged her a little bit so she wanted to be able to help kids and give them something nice and surprise them so we decided books and things like that were the way to go.”

“If you can’t go to the playroom it’s always nice to have a book to read,” Maddie said.

A way for Maddie to pass on the kindness she’s been given, to kids whose holidays area spent in hospital beds. Something that she knows all too much about.

“She likes to give, and they’ve given us so much, so she wants to be able to do something to pay it forward do it, and at a place that does so much for her, she spends so much time there,” Chelsea said.

Maddie is asking the community to donate new children’s books, activity books, crayons, markers, colored pencils, board games, and play-doh to the collection containers at the Hair Gallery on the square in Milan, and NEMO Family Health Clinic, also in Milan.

Maddie and Chelsea are planning on giving the books to the hospital shortly after the new year.

There is also a t-shirt fundraiser – with all proceeds benefiting Children's Mercy Hospital.

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