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Community rallies around boy, grants Christmas wish of wheelchair-accessible van

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COGAN STATION, Pa. (Dec. 8, 2015) – A Pennsylvania boy had a simple request for Christmas.

He didn’t want toys or the latest videogame system. Instead, 8-year-old Giovanni Hamilton wanted a wheelchair-accessible van, according to WNEP.

The second grader has a rare genetic disorder called Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome and uses an electronic wheelchair to get around, but his family couldn’t afford the $33,000 van. His teachers found out about his wish when he wrote about it for a school assignment that asked students what they wanted for Christmas.

The school and community rallied around Giovanni and his family, raising enough money to buy a 2016 Dodge Caravan. They unveiled it to him this week as friends cheered his name outside his school. Inside the van, his teachers and parents were waiting.

"It's incredible. This community and everything that they have done for us is just incredible," said Giovanni's mom, Shannon Algarin.

His family doesn’t owe a penny for the van, thanks to donations from the community and help from local businesses. The family can now use the van to take Giovanni to school and his hospital visits.

"Christmas miracles are real. They happen and this van is proof of it.”