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Santa needs special elves to help cancer-stricken girl

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OAK GROVE, MO (KCTV) -

Santa Claus is marshaling his elves to help a cancer-stricken little girl to bring her some desperately needed smiles.

Santa stopped by Bailey Bennett's home in Oak Grove to tell her a little about his special plans. But he also needs your help to make this Christmas extra memorable.

Instead of Flat Stanley, Santa brought Bailey her own "Elf on the Shelf," which she named Peppermint.

"This is Santa's book of good children," Santa told the 8-year-old girl.

She's a little shy, but there's no question she's on that good list. Bailey has earned her place because she's battling stage IV Neuroblastoma, which is an aggressive form of cancer.

Just this month, the family got some heartbreaking news.

"Less than two weeks ago, we were in Cincinnati for a treatment and it didn't actually go through, we didn't get the treatment. They sent us home," Bailey's mom, Nichole Polen, explained. "There's nothing left that they can offer her."

So this Christmas has to be special, and of course, Santa brought presents - like the blanket from his sleigh last year.

Santa told Bailey, "Whenever you're having a tough time, you can put that on and squeeze real hard and know that it's a hug that's coming from me, because Santa loves you all the time."

Santa explained that he chose Peppermint because it will remind her of Christmas.

But Santa was really there to bring an "Elf on the Shelf" to watch over Bailey and tell Santa how she's doing along with the adventures she has along the way.

"I thought that we could name her something about Christmas, like Peppermint," said Bailey.

Bailey doesn't know it yet, but Peppermint has even more plans, and here's where you can help.

A group of local anonymous do-gooders, the Elves of Christmas Present, is gathering volunteers to send Peppermint on adventures. Anyone can get a copy of one of the elves, pose it in fun places and take photos to put up on a Facebook page.

"It will help lift her spirits, I think every day," said Polen.

It's giving a special girl one more thing to look forward to and another friend to stand by her, day by day.

"She's an inspiration to a lot of people. She's tough, she's tough," Polen said, as Santa gave her a final hug and wished Bailey: "Merry Christmas to you, dear."

Click here to see how you can get instructions to get a Peppermint for Bailey.

Click here to read more about the Elves of Christmas present and how you can help make special wishes come true.

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