After a tough year, holiday surprise delivered to firefighter and his 7 children

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SHOREWOOD, Ill. -- Sometimes it seems like life gives us all we can handle.  But for one suburban father dealing with more than anyone should have to handle alone, helped arrived today, just in time for the holidays.

Jeff Otte, is a Frankfort firefighter and a single father to seven children.  His son 9-year-old son Brandon has been battling a rare form of brain cancer.  Jeff’s wife left the family the week of Brandon’s brain surgery, leaving Jeff to care for the seven children by himself.

Brandon’s chemotherapy has been tough.  Another son has severe autism and is non-verbal.

“There’s been a lot of obstacles and a lot of roadblocks thrown at us,” Jeff says.  “We’ve run at them full force and hurdled them over.”

The Otte children range in ages 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3  and 1.

It has certainly been a challenging year at their house.

So when firefighters and Santa showed up at the family’s home Thursday afternoon, it was a welcomed surprise.

For one afternoon, the Otte’s tough year was all forgotten and replaced with games, toys and most of all, support.

And there are a couple more surprises for the Otte family.

The garage is full of gifts donated from the fire department and family friends.  And the day after Christmas, the family is going on a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney

“Being a firefighter you never expect to have to ask for help,” Jeff says.

Today, he was the one who needed it, and thanks to friends and other firefighters he got it. The spirit of the season, delivered right to his driveway.