The Christmas spirit of giving overwhelmed a local Pratt family when dozens of gifts showed up at their home unexpectedly Wednesday morning.


The Christmas spirit of giving overwhelmed a local Pratt family when dozens of gifts showed up at their home unexpectedly Wednesday morning.

Madison Hunt, along with her sister Allie and their mom Staci got the shock of their lives when they got home from school to find their Christmas tree surrounded with presents.

“I’m completely overwhelmed,” Staci said.

Also in the house were Staci’s parents Kris and Tim Quint and Tom Lear, a truck driver for Wal-Mart who delivered the gifts.

The presents were gifts from entertainers in Branson, Mo., and Lear was the truck driver who brought the presents to Pratt.

The story of the presents starts with a collection jar in the Paso Junction truck stop on the east side of Pratt. The collection jar is to help raise money for Madison who was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor on July 13, 2007.

The money in the jars was used to help cover the cost of medical treatment and driving expenses to treat Madison’s cancer.

Wal-Mart truck drivers saw the jar and were curious about her condition and how they could help.

Wal-Mart has a program called Wal-Mart Heart to help people in need and on Sept. 8 they had a special event at the Pratt Wal-Mart for Madison that included a new bicycle, a new TV, proclamations from Mayor Jeff Taylor and Sen. Ruth Teichman and a free family trip to Branson, Mo. 

During their trip to Branson the entertainers were told of Madison’s condition and they made her a part of every show they visited.  Dee Elledge, Branson Wal-Mart assistant manager organized the trip, took the family to each show and made sure all the entertainers knew Madison’s story.

Madison captured the hearts of entertainers Bucky Heard and Justin Clark who have a Blues Brothers tribute show. She also had an impact on Jason Yeager, an American Idol contestant who also has a show in Branson, Lear said.

Heard, Clark and Yeager decided to do something special for Madison and her family so they spread the word and money started to come in from all over the United States, Lear said.

Then the entertainers, along with Bucky’s wife A.J., took the money and went Christmas shopping in Branson and bought dozens of gifts for the girls and a few things for Staci as well. Elledge helped get Wal-Mart involved and they offered free transportation of the gifts from Branson to Pratt, Lear said.

Elledge got busy and wrapped all the presents herself then Lear, one the drivers at the earlier Wal-Mart Heart event, got the call to transport the presents to Pratt. He brought the presents to the Pratt Wal-Mart then contacted the Quints, who had previously been told about the presents, who used their pickup to transport the presents from Wal-Mart to the Hunt house. Once they arrived, the Quints and Lear unloaded the presents and placed them around the Christmas tree while Staci was at work and the girls were at school, Tim said. 

There were no presents under the tree before the Branson gifts were delivered.

Staci got the girls after school was over and when they came home they got the surprise of their lives.

“I felt really happy and excited,” Madison said.

While he was at the house, Heard called Bucky and he talked with Madison, who thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas, and with Staci who spent several minutes on the phone thanking him and the others for their generosity that included many toys, girls clothes, games, movies and some new kitchen appliances including a new microwave oven that will replace the old one that broke down.

“I’m happy for the girls,” Staci said. “I’m very touched. I want to thank them for this.” 

Kris said she was thankful for all their donations.

“It’s all been greatly appreciated,” Kris said.

Madison’s cancer is in remission and she said she is feeling really great. She has a checkup every four months, Staci said.