Christmas comes early for Amber's Angels



Posted on December 23, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 23 at 9:20 PM

AUSTIN -- Box by box, they unloaded gifts from a truck serving as Santa's sleigh Friday. Elves helped organize, but it was angels who made this early Christmas possible at Dell Children's Medical Center. 

"It's huge," said Debbie Fett. "When we first started we only did 80 bags." That was seven years ago. Today, Fett will hand out more than 200.

Each gift comes from Amber's Angels, the charity Fett's daughter Amberlyn started for children stuck in hospitals for the holidays.

"Today is going to be a good day and a bad day," explained Fett. "A good day because we're carrying on her wish, a bad day because she's not here with us."

In late November, 22-year-old Amberlyn lost a lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

"Even though the pain was there, she never would show it," said friend Eddie Jones. "She would never tell, so that keeps me continuing to go on."

Jones met Amberlyn in a hospital room two years ago, on a visit with the UT football team.

"From that day something struck my heart and we connected from that day," smiled Jones.

It's a connection shared with every one of Amber's Angels and the children they serve. Eight-year-old Helen Heustess has only begun her fight with auto immune disease. Still, she had to see the angels for herself.

"It's just fun to get out of that room," said Huestess. "If I come down and do something down here, it's nice."

Donations help raise the $10,000 needed for gifts. Stuffed animals and toys for the children, electronics for the teens.

"I know I'm sick here," explained 16-year-old Jose Mendez. "I know that because it makes me feel a lot better I can just imagine how much it makes all the other kids feel."

Christmas time isn't the only opportunity Amber's Angels uses to reach out. The group helps child patients celebrate birthdays, scavenger hunts, and movie nights.

To find out how you can help Amber's Angels, click here.