A simple letter to Santa is helping change lives in the Toledo area

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TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - Make-A-Wish and Macy's have teamed up for the last decade to make magic happen for tens of thousands of deserving kids. It's called The Believe Campaign.

For every letter written to Santa during a stop at Macy's, the department store donates $1 to Make-A-Wish. That spirit of giving will reach up to $1 million this year, nationwide.

Like most kids his age, 5-year-old Liam Boden is excited to write a letter to Santa. Unlike most children his age, Liam has already undergone three open heart surgeries. Liam's mom Courtney says he has a lot of personality, he loves school and enjoys playing with his friends,"It's hard to see your kid go through these things and see them suffer, and not have any control over it."

Liam has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Courtney says that essentially means only half his heart works, "In February 2016 he was given 12-18 months to live and he's surpassed that. He's doing better now and they expected him to be doing worse. We just accept and are grateful for every day we have."

Liam's dad David says his son wasn't even a week old when he underwent his first surgery, "It's not a cure, but a treatment. His first surgery was at just five days old. His second surgery was when he was about five months old and his third when he was two years old."

Liam wished for a Pixar playhouse filled with things from his favorite movies. Courtney says Make-A-Wish delivered in a big way, "We go through a lot of awful stuff and to have people reach out to you and give you something good is so important for us. To see the good is wonderful because we see so much bad."

Morgan Tucker of Make-A-Wish says it was quickly clear the playhouse was a big hit, "As soon as we showed him his playhouse he went inside and didn't want to come out. It's incredible to me what he's been through. His family is unbelievably strong. Liam has certainly been through a lot more than any child should."

The playhouse a wonderful gift for Liam and his entire family. His parents say it's tough to put their gratitude into words, "Everyone at Make-A-Wish and all the donors are so very kind, generous and wonderful. It is so incredible that they gave their time and money to help us, we appreciate it so much. We have days we don't know if he's even going to make it, and then to have somebody do something special for you, it's everything."

Morgan says all of us can help make dreams like this come true with a simple letter to the man who helps so much magic happen every year, "It's a fun way to get into the holiday spirit, but to also make a difference."

You can double your impact this week. Friday, December 8th instead of $1, Macy's will donate $2 to Make-A-Wish for every letter written to Santa. Since 2008, the Believe Campaign has raised about $15 million nationwide.

The campaign runs through Christmas Eve, and the red letter box is at the Talmadge Road entrance to the Macy's at Franklin Park Mall.