Giving tree helps kids battling cancer have a nice Christmas

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — Right now is the giving season, and if you haven’t found the right organization or cause to donate to, we might have the one for you.

Biaggi’s Italian restaurant at Voyager and Briargate Parkways has a giving tree right inside its doors. Every angel on the tree represents a child who’s battling leukemia or some other form of blood disorder, like sickle cell.

It started out small eight years ago with five children. Right now, they help about 150 kids have a wonderful Christmas every year.

Most everyone has been impacted by cancer one way or another, but when it’s a child it can be even more devastating. That’s why this giving tree exists: to put smiles on the faces of children who need some light in a dark situation.

Balal Rauf had no idea what this tree meant walking into the restaurant.

“It moved me, to be completely honest with you,” he said. “You see the Toys for Tots and you see the boxes out, but this is actually something that somebody has asked for.”

Kids as young as six months, all the way up to 18, are on the tree asking for everything from a mountain bike to an Angry Bird Lego set: simple kid stuff.

This tree is meant to fill a gap for families who may be overwhelmed by their situation.

“I think every child should have a great Christmas, and I think sometimes the parents are so involved that they might not be able to do it for them,” said event creator Charlene Long.

If you want to help out one of these kids in need this holiday season, it’s really simple.

All you have to do is go to Biaggi’s and walk over to the tree with angels on it, pick one off, and go shopping. You don’t have to worry about getting everything that’s on the list.

“I don’t expect people to go broke doing this. A few items would be great. Buying gift cards for some of the kids asking for gift cards,” said Long.

It’s as easy as that to give to a child going through the biggest challenge of their life.

The outcome can be powerful.

“We lost a boy. He was 18 and his family said that he said our Christmas party and getting presents was one of the highlights of his year,” said Long.

That’s what it’s all about, no matter the outcome.

Putting a smile on a sick child’s face can help them in more ways than we know.

They do have specific rules about what you can donate, though. Since the kids are sick and may have problems with their immune system, they only want brand new toys.

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