HAWARDEN, Iowa (CBS) -- The holidays are always a special time of the year. For one Hawarden, Iowa, family, they are getting some holiday cheer during a difficult time.
Little Alexis Vanbochove is battling a rare form of cancer. Her one wish, for you to send her a Christmas Card. Mail now comes in from around the world.
This may look like a mom reading Christmas cards to her daughter, but for this family, it means so much more.
"Started with her right eye going towards her nose and we kind of took her in from there and got an MRI done and that's when we found out," mother Amanda Vanbochove said.
Four year-old Alexis was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare form of cancer in May.
The family traveled to Sioux Falls thirty times as they used radiation to battle the deadly disease, but the support right here in Hawarden has made the process for the family a little bit easier.
The community raised money as the family went to Minneapolis for experimental treatment. Eight weeks after starting treatment, doctors found a second tumor in her brain. Even though she continues to hear bad news, Alexis was always positive.
"Showed a lot people how strong a little girl can be," Father Casey Vanbochove said.
Now the family is trying to make her as comfortable as possible. She loves getting Christmas cards in the mail, so the family asked for people to mail them. The response has been amazing, as the family has hundreds of cards from across the country.
"Makes you feel really good that there's a lot of good people out there to send a little sick girl Christmas cards," Casey said.
The family spends about an hour a day reading every card sent to them. The disease is making it difficult for Alexis to speak, but the cards addressed to her bring joy she can express without words.
"Opening all this stuff that she knows is just for her, she likes that, it brings a smile to her face," Amanda said.
The generosity to Alexis extends beyond the Christmas cards. The Christmas tree set up in her living room was decorated for her. She also has received paintings of characters from her favorite movie Frozen, and a trophy from her favorite race car driver.
"We would like to thank everybody for all the support. All the cards and the trophies, the paintings. We've gotten a lot of stuff for her," Casey said.
It's an overwhelming reaction to a family asking for joy for their daughter, who's looking at a difficult future.
The Vanbochove family hopes to use their story to raise awareness about DPIG. They pledge to continue the fight even if they lose their daughter.
A GoFundMe page is set up to help family with medical expenses.
If you’d like to send a card to Alexis, here is the address:
Alexis Van Bochove
c/o Flowers by Jan
905 Central Avenue
Hawarden, IA 51023