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SEATTLE One might think that the talented kids performing in Pacific Northwest Ballet s Nutcracker would have enough on their minds. But during their downtime backstage, they found a way to help hospitalized children this holiday season.

For the second year in a row, young dancers took time to knit hats during spare moments. The hats would then be donated to young patients at Seattle Children s.

We are lucky to be dancing in the Nutcracker, but some kids are sick and have to spend Christmas in the hospital, said 12-year-old Rose, who came up with the idea, along with her 9-year-old sister Catherine.

I had a friend named Brighton and he got sick, and the medicine made his hair fall out, Catherine said.

Their goal was to make 50 hats this year. But by the time they dropped the hats off at the hospital on Christmas Eve, they had 71 hats. Each one was accompanied by a handwritten note from one of the dancers.

On Thursday morning, some of the hats were delivered to families at the hospital. Yoon Park s daughter, Ava, got a pretty pink one.

It ll be beautiful when she goes home, Park said.

Ava is nearly six months old and has spent all but two weeks in the hospital because of a rare syndrome and underdeveloped lungs.

It s really amazing when you go through life thinking that you re dealing with stuff on your own and all of these people come out of the blue, Park said with tears in her eyes. There are so many people out there that care so much.

Ava will hopefully leave the hospital, with her new hat, in about a week. But she will likely need to return in the future.

We re hoping that the kids do feel loved and cared about, Catherine said.

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