Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but in southeastern Connecticut it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Neighbors in East Lyme are stepping up to the plate and decorating their homes early for a young girl who is battling cancer.
Madeline Guarraia’s family decided Christmas would come early this year. Decorations and lights are set up around East Lyme, which is putting a smile on 9-year-old Madeline’s face.
She’s battling cancer for the third time, and Eyewitness News first introduced viewers to her back in the fall on Better Connecticut.
"We turned over every stone, to find something that could work, but there’s nothing else we could do now,” said Madeline’s father Matt Guarraia.
The family decided it would celebrate Christmas this weekend, and the idea caught the attention of others who decided they would pitch in and set up decorations so Madeline can enjoy the holidays.
"We've been following the story and it was important for us to contribute to her having a nice Christmas,” said Rebecca Como of East Lyme.
Even with all that she is going through, part of Madeline’s Christmas wish is to collect gifts for other children at Yale-New Haven Hospital, so a toy drive is now gaining steam on Facebook.
"Paying it forward, we're all helping this little girl and she's helping other people. It’s amazing. I think this little girl is an amazing child,” said Terri Smith, of Smith’s Acres.
Her family said it is the community’s support that has amazed them, and they are thankful for that.
"It’s a terrible situation that we're going through and its painful and everything that you can imagine, but it’s made a little easier knowing there are so many people willing to do things, rearrange their holidays and their schedule for us,” Matt Guarraia said.
The family said that the town of East Lyme will light its tree in Madeline’s honor on Saturday night, rallying everyone to get their decorations up early for the little girl.
For more information on Madeline’s Christmas Wish Toy Drive, and the drop-off locations, click here.
To visit Madeline's Facebook page, click here.
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