4-year-old battling leukemia plays Santa to sick kids

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by NATASHA RYAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 23, 2011 at 11:26 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 24 at 12:18 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- Mary Bridge Children's Hospital was filled with Christmas spirit on Friday night, all thanks to one little girl, a four-year-old who is quite familiar with the hospital.

 

Toy by toy, Iley Puloka helped load them into wagons, only to be unloaded just one floor up. With the help of older brother, Tui, she placed each one under the Christmas tree. Excited at the thought of children receiving the gifts she burst with smiles and laughter.

"I spend the night here sometimes," she said.

In fact, Iley spent last Christmas in the hospital.

"I didn't get to see her last Christmas," said Tui. He said it was sad and he’s happy she’s going to be home this Christmas.

Iley didn’t, however, forget about the children who won’t make it home for the holidays. Her only wish was to play Santa’s helper and give gifts to kids still in the hospital. Thanks to songwriter Scott Heuston, she got that chance. Scott has written a song for Iley and his band Mad Silence holds fundraisers to help pay for her treatment. They raised the money for the gifts that Iley delivered.

The band didn’t know Iley before she got sick but member Eric Crozier tells us why she stood out.

“Even when she was feeling pretty awful she was still smiling bigger than anyone in that room,” he said.

Her spirit inspired them and she continues to inspire almost everyone, including her family.

“She’s the one who keeps us tough. I think about what she goes through every day and I don’t know how she handles it," says mom, Amber Snider.

While playing a game with my photographer, Ryan Coe, Iley shouted, “I won.” She is winning but at something much more important, her battle with cancer.

 

Watch Scott Heuston perform “10,000 Hearts on New Day Northwest

by clicking here

To download the song "10,000 Hearts" on iTunes click here

 

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