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CLEVELAND -- Linda and Rich White lost their son to brain cancer, when he was 4 years old.

The Whites had spent 18 months by their son's side as he struggled through 13 surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and radio therapy.

Linda saw the toll having a chronically ill child in the hospital can have on a family. When Richie passed away, she wanted to do something positive to impact the lives of sick children and their families.

"I wanted to make the kids smile," said Linda.

Linda, Rich and now their two children, Christina, 23, and Nicholas, 19, run the Richie White Foundation.The nonprofit supports an annual Christmas party for the hematology and oncology patients at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

The Whites, along with friends, family and community supporters, raise approximately $24,000 each year for the party.

When the Whites started out in 1992, the pediatric patients would receive gifts they requested at a $100 limit. Now, Linda says, the sky's the limit.

"We buy them whatever they want," she said."When your child smiles for five minutes, it makes your whole day.I once had a father tell me that his son's smile when he opened his present was the first smile he had seen from his kid in two weeks."

The Whites also buy presents for the patients' brothers and sisters and sometimes for the parents, too.

The whole family pitches in, with Christina and Nicholas helping to buy the gifts and Linda's brother dressing up as Santa.

Last year, 90 people at the Children's Hospital received gifts from the Richie White Foundation.

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