In 2015, I imagined the Secret Sleigh Project…
I was sitting in my daughter Lily’s bedroom, still processing her new needs as she slept. Lily had recently been diagnosed again, amidst her current medical illness and developmental needs. It was a lot to take in that day.
Lily was born 12 years before with a metabolic disorder which no one knew she had. A week before her first birthday, Lily collapsed in her crib one morning after waking up and later experienced a metabolic crisis. The crisis created a grand-mal seizure, and glutaric acid built up in her system, which poisoned her little body. Lily was no longer able to walk, talk or eat on her own. Throughout the years she has had countless hospitalizations, surgeries, and near-death experiences that have shaken the family, but also showed Lily’s resilience. Therapists, doctors, nurses and providers of all kinds are constantly and readily in our home or readily available to assist with Lily. It is a different life than I had expected for my daughter and yet, I see the beauty in it as well.
So here I was, that early December morning, picturing a new life after Lily had been diagnosed with a respiratory complication. Two new machines sat in Lily’s room and I was trying to figure out how on earth we were going to get out and do things as a family. I thought about a Santa visit and felt crushed. The air would be too cold for Lily in December and even to go somewhere indoors, we would have to get her in and out of the car. The amount of machines Lily needed to have with her almost always required a wagon along with her wheelchair just to carry them. It was overwhelming to consider seeing Santa.
And then I had a vision of Santa walking into Lily’s room, and Lily lighting up at the sight of him. This is where Secret Sleigh was born.
I posted the idea on Facebook, and shared how I would like to help other families receive a home visit as well. Within two hours, thanks to a remarkable friend, we had a Santa. Within two weeks, Santa visited 16 children all over Northern Colorado, including Lily and her brothers, and took his entire day to do so. Not only that, Santa had Mrs. Claus with him, and a few elves to assist in navigating the sleigh. The following year, more than 5 Santa’s visited over 50 children in three different states.
I am thrilled at the growth of the project and that it has brought joy to so many children and families. This year I have a wonderful Secret Sleigh team to help in our planning! In continuing this tradition we want every child, no matter where they are and what diagnosis keeps them home, to truly enjoy some needed Christmas magic!
~Sarah Kordis, Founder, Secret Sleigh Project