A little boy battling two tumors is giving back after so many have given to him.
Nathan Norman, 5, and his family delivered more than 500 Christmas bags packed with toys and Bibles to Duke Children’s Hospital on Friday.
“I said, ‘What do you think about all of these bags?’ He said, ‘This is awesome!’” said his mother, Dawn Norman.
Nathan has tumors in his brain and spine.
“Even in the thick of Nathan’s treatment - when things were really uncertain, they were still reaching out to other families. It just speaks volumes about them. It really does. To recognize – who knows better than a parent who’s going through it,” said Rebecca McIntyre, who does clinical social work in the pediatric neuro-oncology program.
Duke is one of several hospitals that the Normans donate to each year.
It’s a project that they started with just their family in 2009 with 100 bags.
Now it’s become a toy wonderland through donations from their community inVirginia.
“We had planned this year to do 1,000 bags, which was a God-sized goal because last year we did just under 300 for all three hospitals. This year, we did almost 3,000 bags,” Dawn Norman said.
It’s not just the kids that benefit. The Normans donated iPads to Duke and other hospitals.
McIntyre said she mentioned she could use one, but never expected the Normans would donate it. She said the hospital will use it for a program that helps families facing a new diagnosis.
“Wow. This is going to help so many of our parents deal more effectively with the stress,” McIntyre said.
The Normans were able to buy the iPads with donations people made to Nathan.
“The Bible says that the more you give, that the Lord will bless you. Well, he is blessed so much that our house is overflowing,” Dawn said.
“This is something that he can give as a gift to Rebecca and she can use to touch so many other families and use in so many different ways. We’re getting ready to provide Duke with a second one.”
Hospital staff believe there is enough to give each child at the hospital a bag, along with siblings.
“To have a present to open is just incredible for them to be able to open up a gift and say, ‘Somebody’s thinking about me in the hospital,” said Katie Oches, child life specialist.
The family is spreading Christmas cheer that they’ve been enjoying since September. That’s when Nathan asked his parents to put up decorations because it made him happy.
“In no way did we start celebrating early because we thought it would be his last Christmas. He is still fighting strong and we’re still praying for a cure,” Dawn said.
Christmas cards began pouring in from around the world. Currently, the Normans get between 500 to 2,000 cards and packages on their doorstep each day, Dawn said.
He also gets visitors, including from law enforcement and firefighters. Next week the family expects people from 60 different agencies from Massachusetts to visit. The Secret Service have invited Nathan and his family to President Barack Obama’s inauguration next month.
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