So. Fla. pediatric facility brightens children's holidays
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- The annual toy drive at Fort Lauderdale's Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center (CDTC) could use more Christmas angels.
Throughout the month of December, the South Florida pediatric facility has been turned into South Florida's version of Santa's Workshop, as its staff gives the community's physically disabled citizens more hope for the holidays. The "elves," or center workers, bask in the joy of giving.
"We collect toys from donations throughout the community," said CDTC's Kathy Carroll. The Center gives out about 2200 Christmas gifts every year. Parents can even come in to shop.
"To come here and have my favorite social worker and all her staff help is a blessing," said Angel Adams as she puts her arm around social worker Kris Fitzpatrick.
Partially paralyzed after an assault, Adams is feeling the Christmas spirit once she steps into CDTC's makeshift North Pole. "Someone tried to kill me. I have a lot going on, but I have a lot to be thankful for," Adams said.
Anthony Vitiello, a local teenager living with cerebral palsy, expressed his gratitude at the outpouring of support. "The donations absolutely warm my heart, and I am positive they are warming hearts of kids everywhere," said Vitiello, who is also deaf in one ear.
"There have been Christmases where he wouldn't have gotten much if it hadn't been for Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center," Vitiello's mother, Tina Mahar, revealed.
Hector, a dread-locked teenager, smiles as he got on his new mountain bike. "This is the best Christmas," he said.
Whereas the toy shop has an ample supply of gifts aimed at babies and toddlers, the Center still needs teenage gifts like footballs, hats or $10 gift cards. This is where South Florida's able-bodied residents come in. "If you could give a little bit, it would mean so much," said Fitzpatrick.
For more information, go to www.childrensdiagnostic.org.
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