Adam Sandler Plays Santa to Sick Siblings
Adam Sandler may be known for his childish movie characters, but this Christmas he played a more mature role: a gift-giving Santa to a brother and sister who are fighting cancer in his home state of New Hampshire.
Sandler, 40, had a PlayStation 3 loaded with games as well as autographed DVDs, jerseys and a Longest Yard poster delivered to 15-year-old Stephanie and 18-year-old Kevin Hudon of Manchester, N.H., the Associated Press reports.
Stephanie, who is scheduled for surgery Jan. 8, has bone cancer that recently spread to her lungs. In November, Kevin was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and is being given chemotherapy.
Christine Monahan, a teacher at Manchester Memorial High School who is helping raise funds for the Hudon family, said the gifts from Sandler arrived last week.
Sandler's tradition of giving back dates back to his childhood in New Hampshire, where as a 7-year-old he sang "The Candy Man" for Manchester nursing home patients, PEOPLE reported in a 1998 profile.
Keeping strong ties to his home state, he also twice delivered the commencement addresses at his alma mater, Manchester Central High School (in 2003, he advised grads to "Fill your life with fun" and in 2004 said, "Congratulations. As of today, you no longer have to eat your lunch in the school cafeteria").
Recalling her now-famous student, Sandler's official disciplinarian at Manchester Central from 1980 to 1984, Isabel Pellerin, told PEOPLE in 1998: "You've seen his movies? That's the way he was here."
Remembering Sandler as pleasant but always fooling around, Pellerin added, "I can't believe he's making all that money for things he was being punished for here. I thought he would grow up. Instead he grew rich."