DEPTFORD, NJ (KYW/CNN) - An 8-year-old boy in New Jersey was thrilled to find something extra special under the Christmas tree this year after he asked Santa Claus to borrow money for cancer research.
After a trip to see Santa with her 8-year-old son Michael, mother Amy Bell thought something was wrong when she got waved over by Saint Nick himself.
"He pulls me aside and tells me that Michael asked if he could borrow some money for kids with cancer,” Amy Bell said.
Michael has neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that can cause tumors. He is OK but monitored regularly by doctors.
Just before visiting Santa, Michael had been to the children’s hospital for a routine MRI reading.
"I mean, we’ve been in hospitals and stuff, but I didn’t realize that he noticed all the children,” Amy Bell said.
Following Michael’s special request, Santa told the boy he would have to see what he could do.
Unbeknownst to the 8-year-old, word spread quickly among family friends and colleagues, and his Christmas wish would soon be granted.
When Michael woke up on Christmas morning, he found a Philadelphia Eagles jacket and a Jimmy Butler Philadelphia 76ers jersey under the tree, but that wasn’t all.
"Well, there was a card under the platform. I thought I was all done. I took it out, and there was a million hundred dollars,” Michael said.
Michael admits that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there was $1,200, which the family will donate for pediatric brain cancer research. A card from Santa accompanying the money called Michael “a shining star.”
"Proud is the best word to describe it as a parent. Just proud,” said Michael’s father, Ed Bell.
Michael’s parents said they weren’t expecting the outpouring of generosity their son received. They thought they would maybe be able to donate around $50.
Now, seeing Christmas through the eyes of her 8-year-old, Amy Bell says her faith is renewed.
"He’s just that type of caring, compassionate kid,” Amy Bell said. “People that heard the story, they were just moved. For an 8-year-old to be so selfless, we could learn a lot from that.”