A 10-year-old boy is sure Santa will bring diapers for his baby sister. A girl in 3rd grade asks for slippers to keep her feet warm. Two brothers say their mom needs help making the rent. Trading diapers for video games and slippers for a Barbie is a sign of the times. Non-material gifts are quite popular this year.
Steve is going to help me with by acting as my Santa when he heads to Pasadena in a few short days. As you may know, he was selected by the Gift of Hope to represent Illinois's transplant recipients and will ride on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade. There is not a more deserving person for this award and I think you'll see why he represents us all so well with his inspiration and "giving" of himself. Here is a brief note he sent me this week:
"I hope that this is OK with you -- I think it will be... And I'll be very honored to have a hand in the situation...
On December 29th, throughout much of the day they have dedication ceremonies in the Family Circle Rose Garden... I learned that I'd have the opportunity to place Kari's rose... I asked if I could personally place Chloe's 14 roses and they said that I could...
I know I told you I'd be looking for Chloe's roses, but now, instead of looking, I'll have the honor of actually dedicating and placing Chloe's 14 roses there, on your behalf... I'll make sure that Laura gets pictures and video."
In other words, Steve was saying Merry Christmas to me in a Huge Way! How did I get so lucky to know Steve? I am absolutely thrilled to have him do this for Chloe...and even happier knowing that her roses are going to be placed with love, not just placed just because she was another name, another donor. She's more than that to both Steve and I and it's very fitting to have one of 'Chicago's Very Own' do this on my behalf. I told Steve in my response to his note that "I see no better replacement for myself than you when it comes to this dedication."
I wrote to Chloe's family to tell them about my dedication to her a few weeks ago. Now just wait until they hear about what Steve (a.k.a. Santa) has given to me. He will standing strong and proud, reading the following dedication aloud - In memory of Chloe - Your "open-heartedness" gave Melissa a future. Today and always we honor you with 14 roses to represent your 14 years of life. Love, your dear friend and mine - Melissa
All the while, showing donor families who will be watching how the gift that they've given transforms someone -- and then to see the joy in their face knowing that the person they loved and lost helped so many means that we will never, ever let them be forgotten...especially at Christmas.