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Ridgefield Park-Hasbrouck Heights Daily Voice serves Hasbrouck Heights, Little Ferry, Moonachie, Ridgefield Park & Wood-Ridge

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Moonachie Firefighters, Santa Surprise 8-Year-Old Battling Bone Cancer

Austin, 8 of Moonachie, was surprised by firefighters and Santa Claus on Saturday. Photo Credit: Contributed
Christmas came early for the energetic 8-year-old battling bone cancer. Photo Credit: Contributed

MOONACHIE, N.J. — Christmas came early in Moonachie for Austin Macalintal.

On Saturday, members of the Moonachie Fire Department -- along with help from Santa Claus -- delivered bags of NY Giants memorabilia and a $500 check to the energetic 8-year-old battling osteosarcoma.

Austin was so moved by this gesture of kindness from MFD he stood with the help of his walker for a few pictures and shook hands with Santa and all the firefighters who greeted him.

"It was a very special moment for all, seeing the smile on Austin and his family’s faces as we all stood together," MFD President Victor Migliorino said.

More than $25,100 had been raised as of Sunday evening on a GoFundMe page for Austin , who was also the recipient of the Moonachie Police Department's No Shave November campaign.

On July 31, Austin's doctors found a tumor on his right distal femur (the thigh bone just above the knee), and diagnosed him with Osteosarcoma -- a cancerous tumor that develops from bone cells, osteoblasts, which start in the ends of long bones.

Austin can no longer walk on his own. He must wear a heavy brace to protect the weakened leg, and he now uses a pediatric wheelchair and walker to move around.

"He is such a positive and strong-spirited young man," said the GoFundMe founder, Florence DeGuia. "We know he can fight this."

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