Holiday cheer for hospitalized kids as teen honors his late little brother

David Madden
December 21, 2018 - 3:43 pm
Some of the thousand donated toys.

David Madden/KYW Newsradio


WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J., (KYW Newsradio) —  Christmas came a little early for pediatric patients at one South Jersey hospital, thanks to a Sicklerville teenager who’s been Santa’s helper for the last seven years.

It’s all meant to remember and honor his late little brother.

Emanuel Alexis died shortly after he was born a dozen years ago. His older brother, DJ, decided to remember him by making his birthday, Dec. 21., a day to distribute toys to kids in Jefferson Washington Township Hospital.

Schoolmates, local businesses and others have stepped up to donate and wrap a thousand toys this year.

“It’s just a dream come true and just a victory lap,” DJ told KYW Newsradio, “and I think it’s a day where we can honor my brother but at the same time we can just reflect on how great we can truly be as a people.”

DJ has been Santa’s helper for the last seven years.
David Madden/KYW Newsradio

He’s a junior now at the Tatnall School near Wilmington. So how long can he keep this up?

“I just want to do it as long as I possibly can and support as many kids as possible,” he responded, “because there’s so many out there that need help.”

Not just during the holidays, either. They’re setting up children’s libraries here and at another Jefferson facility in Cherry Hill, with pledges to fill the shelves with books for the young ones to read while getting treatment.