Fall Fun Pep Rally lifts young spirits - Republic-Times | News

Fall Fun Pep Rally lifts young spirits

By on November 7, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Santa Needs Help President Tom Gardner gives Lydia Boyer a chance to interact with a snake and turtle. (submitted photo)

Santa Claus arrived early this year for some area residents, as a nonprofit called Santa Needs Help held a Fall Fun Pep Rally Party for special needs families on Sunday.

The event happened after a parishioner at Hope Christian Church, which hosted the festivities, approached Santa Needs Help President and founder Tom Gardner about putting on an event for 5-year-old Lydia Boyer. 

Lydia has medulloblastoma, one of the most aggressive types of cancerous tumors.

Gardner soon called his vice president, Columbia resident Matt Taetz, and they began planning the party, expanding it by inviting more families with special needs children to come.  

Anyone could attend, but like all of Santa Needs Help’s events, it was designed to benefit families with children with special needs. 

“This time of year, for a lot of people, is an exciting time of year,” Taetz said. “But imagine the stress these families are in. We’re just trying to do anything to lift their spirits. If we get a smile, that’s the best thing we could hope.”

Santa Needs Help was founded more than 10 years ago by Gardner, a retired plumber from Missouri, to support nonprofit children’s organizations. 

Taetz, who runs a company called Best Mouse Race and is an inside carpenter, said that often takes the form of putting on events like the one at Hope Christian Church.

“Basically, if there is any kind of event where there are kids with any kind of crisis, terminal illness or even down syndrome or something like that, we usually go and we do parties,” he said…>>> 

Read the rest of the story in the November 7, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times.

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James Moss