A New Jersey boy wanted something extra special for Christmas this year. But it wasn’t a gift for himself.

His request was to help a cause near and dear to his heart.

Eight-year-old Michael Bell and his older sister, Kadence, woke before the sun came up Christmas morning.

He got an Eagles jacket and a Jimmy Butler 76ER’s jersey.

His real wish, however, was revealed a week ago to a Deptford Santa Claus.

Mom Amy Bell, said at first, she thought something was wrong after all Santa was waving her over.

“He pulls me aside and tells me that Michael asked if he could borrow some money for kids with cancer,” Amy said.

Michael said, Santa’s reaction was, “I’ll have to see about that.”

Earlier that day, Michael was at Children’s Hospital for a routine MRI reading. He has Neurofibromatosis – a genetic condition that can cause tumors.

Michael is ok and is monitored regularly by doctors.

“I mean, we’ve been in the hospitals and stuff, but I didn’t realize that he noticed all the children,” Amy said.

Amy said word spread quickly among friends and colleagues about Michael’s special request.

“Holy moly!”
“For cancer!”

And a Christmas wish was granted.

“Well, there was a card under the platform, I thought I was all done. I took it out and there was a million hundred dollars,” Michael said.

Question: “A million hundred dollars?”

Michael Bell: “Yes. Well not really. Not that much.”

Question: “That’s a slight exaggeration?”

Michael Bell: “Yeah.”

“Yeah, like 50 bucks, Santa would put under the tree,” Amy recalled.

“We weren’t expecting what he did. $1,200 underneath the tree.”

Michael and his family will donate $1,200 for Pediatric Brain Cancer research, with a card accompanying the money, called Michael – A Shining Star.

.”I hope this helps, Merry Christmas, love Santa.”

“Proud is the best word to describe it as a parent. Just proud.”

“He’s just that type of caring, compassionate kid.”

Seeing Christmas through the eyes of their eight-year-old and Amy said her faith is renewed.

“People that heard the story, they were just moved, and I guess for an 8-year-old to be so selfless. We could learn a lot from that,” Amy said.

“You’re sort of like a Santa Claus yourself? Disagree? Or are you cool with that?”

“I’m cool with that.”

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(This story was originally published December 26, 2018)