PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s not every day that an ambulance arrives playing Christmas carols, glittering with colored bulbs and packed with presents instead of patients.

The toy collection for kids at Children’s Hospital began when 9-year-old Madison Wasco, who was treated last year for abdominal cancer, told her mom she wanted to do something different this holiday season.

“She knows what it’s like to be getting treatments during the holidays,” says Madison’s mother, Megan Sweeney. “And this year, she decided that she doesn’t need anything. She had a pretty good year. She wants to make some other kids smile.”

The little girl started the collection with her mom. And then medics with Tri-Community EMS heard about it.

“We immediately contacted her family, to try to be able to help out, which, for us, is great because we always see bad things in our job,”says paramedic Kyle Hedrick. “So to be able to be a part of something like this, all of the Tri-Community South are very very grateful even to be part of this.”

Medics donated their time, setting up gift centers throughout their service area. They collected thousands of dollars for hundreds of presents. The word spread, and three Bethel Park High School girls raised $350 caroling, adding to the growing mountain of gifts.

Most of us can only guess at the response from kids, shut in at Children’s Hospital. But Madison knows, she’s been there.

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