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One-armed girl donates all her Christmas gifts to kids at Shriner's Hospital

11:07 PM, Dec 21, 2010   |    comments
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  • Madelyn Hubbs

By Mike Bush

Bridgeton, MO (KSDK) -- If you get lost on your way to finding the true meaning of the season, set your GPS for a house in Bridgeton, Missouri. The Hubbs family has been buying and wrapping presents for weeks and 10-year-old Madelyn has heard all about what her friends are asking for this Christmas.

"A lot of my friends this year want make-up or jewelry," she said.

When she wakes up on Christmas morning, however, Madelyn is not expecting anything under the tree. In fact, every present she does get, she gives away.

"That's just her," said Melissa Hubbs, Madelyn's mom. " She is always thinking about somebody else."

To understand where she's coming from, you have to know where she's been. She was born 10 weeks early and without her left arm but with a huge heart.

"I can tell you that the things we do today, I would have never even imagined," Melissa said. "She's been riding horses since she was 3. She dances tap and ballet. She is just like any other 10-year-old."

She started going to Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis when she was just 3 months old.

"Shriner's has taken care of our family when we needed the advice, the help," said Jeffrey Hubbs, Madelyn's dad.

She received her first prosthetic arm when she was 10 months and she's received a new one every year since.

"Workers there are also very nice," said Madelyn. "You never see them frowning. You get hugs; lots of hugs."

So two years ago, Madelyn had an idea. Give all her gifts to the children at Shriner's. She even convinced her 8-year-old brother to do the same.

"We want them to be happy," said Kyle.

Everyone that has Madelyn on their list is asked to buy for Shriner's instead. She also asks friends and neighbors for donations.

What started as an idea to give away a handful of toys has turned into a couple of wagons full of joy.

The gifts will be used for the kids who have to be in the hospital on Christmas Day.

"For the gifts that we might have left over after the holidays," said Barb Sacco of Shriner's. "We give them a gift to wake up to after surgery."

To most, Santa Claus is a rotund man with a white beard. But at Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis, Santa is a 10-year-old girl with red hair.

When asked how long she planned on doing this, Madelyn said, "For rest of the years of my life probably."


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