Center Gives Out Donated Christmas Gifts to Children

A center in Fort Lauderdale gives out donated gifts to children

By Diana Gonzalez
|  Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012  |  Updated 7:40 PM EDT
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At the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center, a meeting room serves as one of Santa's South Florida toy shops. NBC 6 reporter Diana Gonzalez interviews Ana Calderon, with the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

At the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center, a meeting room serves as one of Santa's South Florida toy shops. NBC 6 reporter Diana Gonzalez interviews Ana Calderon, with the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

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At the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center, a meeting room serves as one of Santa's South Florida toy shops.

Children and parents can pick what they like.

"For someone to give me and make my children's Christmas happy, it's a blessing. And besides, I love my social worker, she's a doll," said grandmother Angel Adams.

The center, on U.S. 1 near Davie Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, has been serving children with special health care needs for almost 30 years. A total of 10,000 Broward children are seen there every year.

"We serve children birth through age 24, and we specialize in providing early intervention services, wrap-around medical care, and we we also do clinical trials research for pediatric HIV medication," said Dr. Ana Calderon. "So we offer hope support and lots of love."

During the holidays they also offer gifts, with people and businesses donating toys, games and even a bicycle.

"Let me start off by saying that I plea the biggest amount of gratefulness possible, because they turn many Christmases for me that would be mediocre at best, to some of the greatest years of my life," said patient Anthony Vitiello.

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Fourteen-year-old Vitiello has cerebral palsy. His mom has been battling colon cancer. They've been living in a FEMA trailer since Hurricane Wilma.

"Yes, we are, but I love it – it's so much nicer than the one the hurricane blew away," said mother Tina Mahr.

There are presents galore for smaller kids, but not so much for teens like Vitiello.

"Well, as a wish list, I'd like to help others. That's really my only wish this year and every other year," he said.

The center has one more Christmas wish: a donation of $10 gift cards from Target or Walmart for the 600 teens they serve by Friday. The information is: Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center
1401 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, (954) 728-8080.

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