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Notre Dame athletes spread Christmas cheer in tough times

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame student athletes are spreading Christmas cheer during tough times. The Student Welfare team hosted its annual Christmas party for pediatric cancer patients Thursday night.

The event gives kids being treated in local hospitals the chance to interact with student athletes, some of whom are involved in the Fight for Life program.

“It’s really special. They’re great to you and everything," said 13-year-old Maddox Snyder.

He's been battling Leukemia since 2015.

“Within a week of his diagnosis, the Fight for Life program and the Notre Dame athletics became a part of his life. It was that quick," said Maddox's father, Al Sndyer.

This year, he's hitting holes in one with the golf team.

“It’s kind of the best part about Notre Dame for me, I think, especially being a student athlete. We’re given so many privileges kind of with the sports and academic side of things, so I think it’s a big deal for us to kind of be able to help out other people who are fighting through different things and don’t kind of have the opportunities we have, and I think it obviously helps them, but I think it helps us grow as people, too, which I think is really important," said one member of the golf team, Thomas Steve.

“It's phenomenal the time that these kids give to the sick kids, and they do it under the radar," said Al.

“I like my tennis team. They are really cool," said another patient, Nevaeh Garza.

“I think it’s so inspiring, because there are so many things we do every day, like going to class and practice and we’re always tired, and sometimes we complain, and you never see Navaeh complain, and it’s just really inspiring," said tennis team member, Caroline Dunleavy.

“Having a sick kid is tough, it’s extremely tough. As a father, we want to be heroes for our children, and somewhere along the line of my son’s recovery, he became my hero," said Maddox's father.

The Notre Dame Student Welfare team has been hosting this party for more than a decade, and the Fight for Life program has been around even longer.

Click here to see a story our ABC 57 Saturday Kickoff team put together about one Fight for Life patient, Charlie the Leprechaun.


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