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103-year-old woman's secret to long life: 'Lots and lots of chocolate'

The fictional film character Forrest Gump famously noted that “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.”

>> Read more trending news

In the case of a Washington State resident, it was longevity.

Mable Smith of Yakima turned 103 on Nov. 13 and credited her long life to chocolate, KIMA reported.

Smith celebrated her birthday with her three children, 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great grandchildren.

What’s her secret to long life?

“I don’t know, good luck,” she told KIMA. “Veggies and chocolate and lots and lots of chocolate, especially Hershey’s.”

Woman helps raise more than $40,000 for homeless veteran who gave her his last $20

A New Jersey woman has helped raise more than $44,000 for a homeless man who helped her when she was in a time of need. 

>> Read more trending news 

Kate McClure was driving on I-95 in Philadelphia recently when her car ran out of gas. According to PhillyVoice.com, McClure got out of her car to walk to a gas station when she was approached by a homeless man, identified only as Johnny. Johnny told McClure to get back in her car and lock the door. He later returned to the vehicle with a can of gas. He had purchased the gas with what little money he had. 

McClure, who was in town to visit a friend, didn’t have anything to give to repay Johnny at the time, so she told him she would return. 

She kept her word.

According to a post online, McClure says she returned to visit Johnny, 34, at his spot by the side of the interstate with clothes, food and money. Each time, Johnny showed gratefulness and generosity.

“One day, I stopped to see him and had a few things in a bag to give him, one of which was a box of cereal bars so he could have something that he could carry around and eat,” McClure wrote. “He was very appreciative as usual and the first thing he said was, ‘Do you want one?’ Another time I dropped off (two) Wawa gift cards and a case of water. The first words that came out of his mouth were, ‘I can’t wait to show the guys’ -- there are (two) others he hangs out with, and they all take care of each other.”

McClure still felt compelled to do more for Johnny, so she created a GoFundMe account, hoping to raise $10,000 to help get Johnny a car, an apartment and some materials and amenities. 

In less than two weeks, McClure raised more than $44,000.

“With the money, I would like to get him first and last month’s rent at an apartment, a reliable vehicle and 4-6 months worth of expenses,” McClure wrote. “He is very interested in finding a job, and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal. (I) truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break.”

Johnny told PhillyVoice.com that he was once a licensed paramedic and also served in the Marine Corps. He said he moved to Philadelphia last year with plans to start a new job, but when things fell through, he became homeless. 

He says now he wants to get a job at the Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, and hopes to one day become recertified as a paramedic.

“(This) changes my life,” he said.

Michael Jordan replaces family’s signed jersey stolen from home after fire

A family received a surprise from NBA legend Michael Jordan after one of his signed jerseys was stolen from their home when it burned down in October.

Officials with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office said the family was forced out of its Rock Creek, Wisconsin, home on Oct. 11 when it caught fire. 

>> Read more trending news

Authorities said a family member went to the house on Nov. 2, after the fire, and noticed two men behind it with a vehicle. The family member told officials that the men said they were looting the house and then left with a garbage can full of items. 

Authorities said they later arrested one of the men. 

According to officials, a signed No. 45 Michael Jordan jersey was among the items taken by the men and is believed to have been sold. 

The Star Tribune reported Monday that the family’s daughter, Kelsey Schiel, got the item signed by Jordan at his Chicago restaurant in 1995. The meetup was coordinated by Starlight Children's Foundation, an organization that supports hospitalized children and their families. At the time, Schiel was battling a life-threatening illness. Now 28, she has beaten the disease that she now likes to keep private.

“It’s devastating to know that someone stole such an important item,” Schiel said. “I really hope that whoever has it realizes its importance and turns it in. We won’t ask questions; it’s just really special to me.”

According to the Star Tribune, Jordan heard about the robbery and is having the jersey replaced.

“Michael was very sorry to hear about what happened to the Schiel family and was happy to send Kelsey a new signed jersey,” a representative for Jordan said.

Restaurant to open doors to ‘Thanksgiving orphans’

A restaurant in Maryland is forgoing dinner with family in the comfort of home to serve a feast to “Thanksgiving orphans”

“Thanksgiving orphans” are those who have nowhere to go; no friends or family to visit for the holiday, WRC reported.

>> Read more trending news

But Galazio Restaurant, in La Plata, Maryland, will open its doors with the help of volunteers to serve dinner to those who can’t travel home for Thanksgiving. 

According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, they’ll even find transportation on Thursday for those who can’t get there on their own.

This is the third year for the dinner at the business, which usually serves Greek food.

Last year, members of the military, executives and families made the trip to the Maryland town for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The restaurant’s owner said they even had naturalists who live in the woods join the tables of strangers who celebrated and gave thanks as friends. They also hosted homeless guests last year as part of a mix of their community, WRC reported.

Cancer survivor and the doctor that saved him climb Mount Kilimanjaro together

Four years ago, Ken Brown, of Chicago, received news that would change his life forever.

He was told he had a five percent chance of survival after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, WGN reported.

>> Read more trending news

But Brown wasn’t alone. He had the help of Dr. Malcom Bilimoria, who was able to help cure Brown of his life-threatening disease.

“I could see when I first met Ken, he was a lot like the patients I see in the clinic, a real fighter,” Dr. Bilimoria said.

Last month, in a celebration of his cancer-free status, Brown and Dr. Bilimoria set off to beat another record -- scaling the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

“I think it was just meant to be,” Brown said, noting that he didn’t really care about whether or not he reached the top. “I have already hiked the tallest mountain that anyone could possibly hike, pancreatic cancer, with Dr. Bilimoria’s help.”

Brown and Bilimoria’s adventure came to fruition after the two had a conversation about their past and planned travels. Bilimoria told Brown about a planned trip Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with a group of eight others, including fellow doctors and their friends.

“I said, ‘You can’t go without me. That’s my dream,’” Brown told his doctor.

Brown had been wanting to climb Kilimanjaro -- the highest mountain in Africa -- since he went on a safari in 2011. From afar, he snapped a photo to the mountain and kept it in his office for years as a reminder of his goal.

In the days after that conversation with his doctor, Brown started to give a trip to Kilimanjaro more serious thought, getting some encouragement from his daughter-in-law.

Brown and Bilimoria ultimately went on the trip and finished up their journey on Oct. 12. Though Brown didn’t make it to the top due to a health issue unrelated to his previous cancer, he was delighted to have had the opportunity to camp under the stars.

“I shouldn’t have been here. I just spent six days getting to know the man who saved my life, and I just also had the opportunity to see sights no one else can see at night,” Brown said, according to WGN. “I feel like I can reach out and touch the stars.”

Bilimoria hopes the trip will serve as inspiration for other people affected by serious illnesses.

“Not only was it great to be able to spend time with (Brown), but it would be great to show other patients that this is what you can do,” Bilimoria told WGN.

See more at WGN.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Boys, 6, who have beaten leukemia become ‘pilots for the day’

Houston Pirrung and Jack Kirkbride are battle buddies in their fight against childhood cancer. Now, with pint-sized personalized flight suits, the two 6-year-olds got to become military battle buddies.

Houston and Jack are both fighting leukemia. Last week, though, their dreams came true when they became pilots for a day, taking the oath and getting their wings at Joint Base Andrews, The Washington Post reported

The boys were able to tour the cockpit of a Boeing C-40 Clipper, among other aircraft, had their names added to a helicopter and spent the day palling around with members of the 113th Wing Air National Guard.

According to the Air National Guard, they were selected as the 21st and 22nd pilots for a day because of their friendship and determination while both being treated at John Hopkins Hospital.

The boys were given the rank of lieutenant general during their swearing-in ceremony, making them the highest rank on Joint Base Andrews for 24 hours, according to the Air National Guard.

Donor found for toddler born without kidneys; Tyler Perry buys mother car

A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was given a car on Tuesday — hours before a kidney donor was found.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Toddler’s kidney transplant stalled due to dad’s latest arrest

Carmellia Burgess of Gwinnett County brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29. 

The family expected to wait for the news that his father, Anthony Dickerson, would be permitted to donate a kidney after a battle with the transplant team over his criminal history.

>> On AJC.com: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant

AJ battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she posted on Facebook.

That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gave Burgess a new car.

>> See her Facebook post here

The family later learned a deceased donor kidney will be given to AJ on Wednesday, attorney Mawuli Davis said.

>> Read more trending news 

“Father and mother are there excited and are being supported by Mr. Dickerson’s mentor, David Manuel, and Pastor Derrick Rice from Sankofa Church.

Cord blood that saved 2-year-old boy hand-delivered by first-ever cord blood recipient

When Matt Farrow was taken to Paris 29 years ago, umbilical cord blood transplants were an experimental procedure.

His parents took the then-5-year-old to France because that was the only place where they could find a doctor to perform the procedure.

Farrow, who suffered from a rare blood disorder, was the first person to receive a cord-blood transplant, and doctors said there was little chance it would work.

“When my parents got approached to do this experiment, they were given less than 5 percent chance that it would work,” Farrow said.

>> Read more trending news

The transplant defied the odds, though, and the cord blood from Farrow’s newborn sister saved his life.

Fast-forward to 2017. 

Farrow now works for Cord:Use Cord Blood Bank in Orlando, where technicians process and store cord blood to be used by patients all over the world.

“Cord blood’s been used for over 40,000 transplants to save people with over 80 diseases now,” Cord:Use president Dr. Edward Guindi said.

One of those people was 2-year-old Grant Gibbens, who was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant.

Read: Double blessing: Newborn saves 2-year-old brother with bone marrow transplant

Cord blood from his newborn brother was used to treat Grant’s cancer and he is now in full remission, his family said.

Farrow realized Monday that he was the one who delivered the cord blood used to treat Grant.

“That’s really special,” Farrow said. “It’s really awesome that I hear that cord blood has been able to save another life.”

Penguins sign five 'prospects' to 1-day contracts for Make-A-Wish

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed five new prospects Tuesday morning to one-day contracts.

General Manager Jim Rutherford made the announcement at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

“It’s good to have a group of guys here to help the Penguins have a little more consistency,” Rutherford said. “It’s my honor to welcome you, and I really hope this is a fun day for you.”

>> Read more trending news

Raymond, Logan, Jason, Joseph and Colton are young Penguins fans from Make-A-Wish chapters in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Carolina and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.

Their day started off with a press conference and signing their one-day contracts.

They were treated to breakfast with the players and stuck around to watch practice and hang out with some of the players afterwards.

Their trip ends with tickets to a Penguins home game.

When asked how to improve the team’s performance, Raymond said, “Get a goal or you won’t get any more breakfast, lunch or dinner.”

Here’s the full text of the one-day contract:

"In consideration of the opportunity to play for the club, the player, who is an amateur, agrees to present himself when called upon to do so and on request of the club for the purpose of demonstrating his ability and qualifications as a hockey player on November 21st, 2017 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, 8000 Cranberry Springs Drive, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. This agreement establishes for the club the exclusive right to negotiation for the services of the player against all other NHL clubs. The agreement shall be valid for a term of one day, at which time the player shall become unconditionally released. Under this agreement, the player shall receive no salary or bonus or any kind or any other form of compensation.”

Puppy with bad heart named honorary K-9 unit as part of bucket list

Arlo the puppy wasn’t expected to live past three months. Now, he’s almost six months old, despite living with a heart defect that can be fatal.

The puppy suffers from a narrowing of his aortic valve -- but Arlo’s owner said that even though there is surgery to fix the issue, his disease is so advanced that he won’t survive surgery, WFSB reported.

>> Read more trending news 

So, Arlo’s owner, Ashley Sakelarakis, has decided to make every day Arlo is around count, starting a bucket list for the pup that is living on borrowed time.

One of the bucket list items was to make Arlo an honorary K-9 unit. Sakelarakis is an Animal Control officer in Woodbridge, Connecticut. She contacted an officer in her hometown to make it happen, WFSB reported and it did.

Arlo received his badge, which was pinned to his collar on Monday, and was able to take his place in a police cruiser.

Also completed from his list was a visit to a news station, hitting a beach, having burgers and eating ice cream, WFSB reported.

Sakelarakis is trying to get Arlo to a different state as part of his bucket list travels.

She said that Arlo is showing progress when it comes to his treatment, but knows in all reality that his heart and health can fail at any moment. 

Woman holds decoration drive to help victims of Hurricane Harvey celebrate holidays

As Texas continues to recover during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many are trying to figure out how they will celebrate the holiday season after they’ve lost everything.

One woman came up with an idea to help bring a little normalcy for hurricane victims during the next few weeks and help brighten up their temporary homes this Christmas, KBMT reported.

>> Read more trending news

Meredith Love, with some help from Gretchen Scoggins and schools in Hardin County, Texas, organized a free holiday decoration giveaway.

Love and the others collected donations through social media to provide ornaments, trees and garlands to Hurricane Harvey victims this past weekend, KBMT reported.

Love posted on her Facebook page that more than 200 people were able to collect something to make their living arrangements a little more homey this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Veteran laid to rest with military honors thanks to kindness of strangers

He gave 11 years of his life to serve our country, now our country gave Sgt. Gregory Politte the honor of the burial he deserved thanks to men and women who didn’t know the former member of the Air Force.

>> Read more trending news 

When Politte died, he had no family or friends to claim his remains, WLTX reported.

But the American Legion in Columbia, South Carolina, didn’t let Politte be forgotten.

Steven Goulet told WLTX that, “Military is family, regardless of service.”

So he organized members of the American Legion to escort Politte’s remains for his final trip, taking him to the Fort Jackson Cemetery for his burial.

Even the box that Politte was buried in was donated by stranger, made by juveniles at the Department of Juvenile Justice, WLTX reported.

Toddler, choked by his father, has story with happy ending, new family

A horrific story from Ohio has a happy ending.

The saga started about a year and a half ago, when police arrested Trevor Casey after they say he choked his young son during a domestic dispute, WTOL reported.

Police said that Casey was mad at the children’s mother so he picked up the youngest boy and choked him, then ran down the street with the boy in his arms, WTOL reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The child, Kingston, and his brother, Kevin, were put into foster care in March 2016 after their father was arrested.

Kevin had told his mother that Kingston was turning blue. That warning to his biological mother eventually lead to the arrest of their father.

The Martin family was granted foster status for the boys. Then the Martins found out that the boys’ biological mother had given birth to a little girl and she had given up her parental rights. So they took care of Ka’Liah too, WTOL reported

Now Heather and Brian Martin are no longer fostering the three children and have become their legal parents.

The Martin family has had a lot of changes this year. Brian and Heather are newlyweds, after getting married in February. They are also now officially new parents.

“Today God has put another miracle - 3 miracles - on me and I’m just beyond blessed and really it’s emotional because we’re a family. We’re officially a family,” Brian told WTOL.

Teen finds his family, asks teacher to adopt him

A teen in Texas now has a family to call his own, and he found it in the most unexpected of places.

Anthony Berry, 16, said he never wanted to be adopted. But he changed his mind when his teacher walked into his life, KBMT reported

>> Read more trending news 

Bennie Berry is a teacher at Pathways Learning Center. Anthony was in her class. Eventually he told her his secret: that he wanted her to be his mother.

She thought that Anthony was joking, but then he explained his background. 

“And then we struck a deal: Finish an assignment and then you can show me the website,” Berry told KBMT.

And he did.

Friday, Anthony’s dream came true, as he became the oldest child of the 18 kids who were adopted in Jefferson County, Texas.

Anthony told KBMT, “If you have ever thought about adoption or didn’t want to be adopted, actually try it because you never know. Take into consideration that someone that doesn’t love you, there is always someone that will love you.”

Kevin Hart announces the birth of his son, Kenzo

Kevin Hart is a dad again. He and his wife, Eniko Parrish, welcomed baby Kenzo early Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

"God is truly amazing," Hart tweeted. "Kenzo Kash Hart was born at 1:45am ....He is Healthy & already smiling. Thank you all for your prayers!!!! We love & appreciate ya."

>> See the tweet here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Looks like mom was ready for her new bundle to get here!

>> See her Instagram post here

Formerly conjoined twins head home to North Carolina after separation surgery

Two little girls will be able to spend the holidays at their home in Mooresville, North Carolina, after being inside a hospital room for more than a year.

>> Watch the video here

>> On WSOCTV.com: PHOTOS: Delaney twins leave hospital, head home to Mooresville

Erin and Abby Delaney were attached at the tops of their heads when they were born in July 2016.

They underwent an 11-hour surgery in June at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when they were 10 months old.

>> Conjoined twins thriving after surgery to separate them

The girls were released from the hospital Monday after spending 485 days at the hospital in Philadelphia.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Erin and Abby will require additional surgeries as they mature, but the team at CHOP said they’re optimistic about their progress so far and about their long-term potential.

>> 10-month-old conjoined twins in North Carolina successfully separated

"The girls are inspiring," said mother Heather Delaney. "As their parents, it is very neat for Riley and me to have a front-row seat to this, and watch them overcome these incredible obstacles. We cannot wait to see what their future holds."

>> Read more trending news

The Delaney family said the girls are doing well, and they’re excited to spend the holidays with them at home.

Chicago police officer creates safe haven where children can go after school, weekends

Officer Jennifer Maddox sees and hears violence day in and day out. She recently decided that instead of just reacting after the fact, she was going to do something to prevent it too.

Maddox now provides a safe haven for kids in the Parkway Gardens apartment complex in Woodlawn, Illinois, WFLD reported.

>> Read more trending news

In a small, cramped basement, down a short set of stairs, something miraculous is happening. Forty children in kindergarten through sixth grade who live in subsidized housing projects are taking part in a program called Future Ties.

“I discovered that there wasn’t any safe spaces or any spaces for the young people to go after school or on the weekends,” said Maddox, a 21-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.

With a small budget plus money out of her own pocket, Maddox uses volunteers and paid staff to provide homework help, activities, meals and even meditation after school, five days a week.

“We know there is a lot of crime and violence that happens in the area. And so the kids know when they come here, this is a safe space for them to come after school,” Maddox said.

Maddox is now one of 10 finalists for CNN’s “Heroes of 2017” award. She says if she wins the award -- and the $100,000 that comes with it -- she’ll put the money back into the program, which has a waiting list right now of more than 40 children.

“To try to expand and make it bigger so that we can do more programming for the youth and the teens year-round, ‘cause we really need it,” Maddox said.

See more at WFLD and CNN

Harrison Ford reportedly helps woman in rollover car accident

A driver in an accident in Santa Paula, California, was assisted by first responders and an award-winning actor Sunday.

KABC reported that Harrison Ford helped a female driver after she drove off a highway and crashed into an embankment Sunday afternoon.

Santa Paula Police Senior Officer Matt Alonzo told the Ventura County Star that the Ford was in the area with a friend when they heard the driver’s sedan roll over and off the highway and into a tree.

>> Read more trending news

“He acted as a good Samaritan, just like everybody else, and tried to help before emergency services arrived,” Alonzo said.

A representative for the Santa Paula Fire Department told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor was getting on the highway after leaving the Santa Paula Airport.

Authorities said the woman was the only occupant in the car and that Ford and others helped her out of the vehicle. She had minor injuries.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident. 

This is the latest in a string of good deeds Ford has been reported as doing.

E! News reported that, in 2000, he was in his helicopter when he rescued two female hikers from the top of Table Mountain in Wyoming as they had altitude sickness. In 2001, he found a missing 13-year-old Boy Scout while flying a helicopter around Wyoming. 

A representative for Ford did not comment to KABC on the report.

10 tips for Black Friday shopping

The Thanksgiving turkey isn’t on the table yet, but retailers and shoppers are gearing up for Black Friday sales.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips on how to make the most of your Black Friday shopping:

1. Start tracking now

Gone are the days when being the person asleep in front of the store at 2 a.m. meant you were the most dedicated shopper. Black Friday is now a month of big deals.

Those prices shift throughout the holiday season, though, so if you really want to judge how good the sales are, you’ll need to track the deals leading up to Black Friday.

The same goes for Cyber Monday, which now stretches into a week of online specials.

2. Get a sneak peek at the ads

If you want to get the best deals, get a look at the ads. You might think they haven’t been released yet, but the retail industry has more leaks than Washington.

You’ll find tons of leaked Black Friday ad scans at bfads.netbestblackfriday.comdealnews.comgottadeal.com and theblackfriday.com.

>> Related: Black Friday 2017: Dell announces deals on laptops and more

3. Compare prices

While it’s tempting to grab the last one of a product on the shelf, take a minute and make sure you’re getting the best deal on it.

There are plenty of websites and apps to help you with this. Start with PriceGrabber.comPriceWatch.comShopping.comShopzillaGoogle Shopping and NexTag.com.

You may not be able to do direct model-to-model pricing, but you can at least see what the best deal available on all the 46” TVs, for example.

4. Figure out your priorities

On the big day, figure out what you want to buy, which store you want to hit first and the importance of each present. This helps put your “must haves” near the top so you’ll prioritize getting those first.

>> Related: 10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

5. Remember your usual haunts

If you’ve got a favorite retail outlet, you should be signed up for their loyalty program. (But don’t go as far as wearing their colors -- wearing red to Target on Black Friday is like putting their bullseye on your back).

If your store has a Black Friday shopping alert, it will help you get the first word on promotions, coupons and discounts. In some cases, you can even find out whether the products you want are in stock or eligible for a buy online/pick up at the store option. That’ll save you shipping costs.

6. Monitor the social channels

Retailers often use Facebook and Twitter for releasing deals and promotions. They can also give customers who like or follow them special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives.

>> Related: Black Friday 2017: 10 stores offering biggest Black Friday discounts this year

7. Put your phone to work

There are few days when your phone is more important than Black Friday, whether it’s coordinating with others in your party or comparison shopping.

Make sure you have some comparison-shopping apps such as ShopSavvyBuyViaFlippRetailMeNot and SlickDeals. You should also have apps from the stores you’re visiting.

8. Stick to your budget

Rule No. 1 of saving money during the holiday season is stick to your budget. But walking into a store on Black Friday is walking into a retail carnival, and impulse buying opportunities are everywhere.

Take a deep breath, focus on your list and try not to let the deals overwhelm you. A popular option is to try buying with cash, so you can see firsthand how much you are spending.

9. Beware the price match

While many stores usually have price-match policies, those can go out the window during Black Friday.

Check the fine print on their price-match policies. Also check the return and exchange policies to make sure that the store won’t charge a restocking fee for any item you bring back.

>> Related: Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times to drive and fly this Thanksgiving

10. Accessorize carefully

Those great deals on TVs get you in the door, but there won’t be deals on accessories such as HDMI cables.

If you know you’ll need an HDMI cable, look at discount online stores, such as monoprice.com or bluejeanscable.com.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about HDMI cables, but you can get a cable that is much more reasonably priced than the $35 for a 6-foot cable at a store.

>> Related: 10 ways to save money during the holidays

‘Signing Santa’ brings holiday traditions to deaf children

Like most kids, Camron Ellis was excited to go to the mall. 

>> Read more trending news

Ellis, who was born with severe hearing loss and uses a cochlear implant, was one of several dozen other deaf or hard of hearing children Tuesday to see Christmas carolers and tell Santa what they want for the holidays as part of the “Signing Santa” event at MacArthur Center. 

“(Camron’s) just full of joy and having the time of his life,” his grandmother Temekka Ellis told the Virginian-Pilot. “He looks forward to this every year. This is our third time here.”

The Talking Hands, a group from Suffolk high school’s sign language class, performed “Frosty the Snowman,” “Silent Night” and other holiday classics, according to the Suffolk News-Herald.

“This is probably the only time these deaf kids get to see Christmas carols in sign,” signing teacher, Anita Fisher, told the Pilot

“For me, this is about the kids,” high school senior Ray Liverman, who took up sign language three years ago, told the Pilot. “I saw what this group was doing and I like the Christmas songs, so I just started in the class. I know it sounds sappy, but it just really warms my heart when I see the looks on their faces, because they understand the songs now.”

The mall also offers a “Calming Santa” event for children with autism and other special needs.

Camron Ellis, 5, wearing a bright red shirt and blue jeans, moved his hands, trying to keep up with the singers as they signed “Jingle Bells.”

“Music,” he said. “Yes. Thank you.”

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