Imaeyen Ibanga

Nightly News   |  December 15, 2013

Trying to make holidays brighter for military families

One organization is decking the homes of struggling military families. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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>>> finally tonight, some of the of some of santa's helpers have been busy decking the halls to make sure they are brighter than they otherwise might be for some struggling military families. janet shamlian has this festive house call .

>> reporter: on a brisk colorado morning, an early christmas at the home of airman matt anderson and his family.

>> we're going to do a great christmas to make your life more enjoyable.

>> reporter: despite pleas from their two sons, they had given up on the idea of decorating their home. the 5-year-old has been fighting for his life after a leukemia diagnosis changed his life six months ago.

>> your chest just drops. you're thinking, no! it is just pneumonia or something. they're wrong.

>> reporter: the starting news prompted him to stay home facing battle zone deployment and trips in and out of the hospital for chemotherapy on. this day for this family, christmas cheer arrived.

>> what a great way for us to do something to give back. to say thanks.

>> christmas decor started decorating soldiers' homes. they are among 100 getting the full decked out treatment this season. for the military families it is always a surprise. especially for the children, it is like christmas came early. for nate and older brother ben, it was as if santa himself stopped by and maybe he had.

>> it was amazing just to see. a crew of 10, 15 guys super excited. they're all here for us.

>> reporter: even with his home transformed into something out of the north pole , he never lost sight of what this was really all about.

>> what is the best part about the holidays?

>> the best part about the holidays is family.

>> it sure is.

>> having a break from school and getting to ride my bike around.

>> 3, 2, 1 -- merry christmas !

>> reporter: thanking those who served by brightening their holiday. janet shamlian , nbc news, aurora, colorado.

>>> that's "nbc nightly news" for