An Early Christmas for Claire Date Moving Up
Last week, we shared 9 year-old Claire Elliot's story with you. When her mom, Annie, posted in an community Facebook group for the city of Eagle with the request for neighbors to set up their Christmas lights early so that her daughter could see them one last time, the Treasure Valley responded in a big way.
UPDATE 10/11/19: The event will be moved the subdivision on E. Hogan Street in Eagle on Saturday, October 19 from 7-9 p.m. to be more comfortable for Claire. It will still include a visit from Santa, Mrs. Clause, carolers and decorating cards for Claire. Volunteers are needed to help neighbors set up decorations and be part of the caroling. If you'd like to volunteer your time to set up decorations in the neighborhood, please e-mail email@example.com.
UPDATE 10/9/19: Unfortunately, Claire's condition has worsened and we'll need to pull together her special early Christmas sooner rather than later. It will likely be take place in the family's neighborhood and will need to include some less visual, more sensory types of Christmas joy like caroling, conversations with Santa and elves and smelling Christmas cookies. We'll share more details on the new date and event for Claire once we've confirmed them. Rachel's been keeping people up to date via the Facebook event, so for the latest feel free to RSVP HERE. The original story follows below.
Claire's fighting a form of cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG). The tumor attacks the brain stem which controls breathing, heart rate, nerves and muscles that allow someone to hear, walk, talk and eat. DIPG accounts for 10-20% of all childhood brain tumors and there's no known cure for these tumors. While they can be treated with radiation therapy, chemo or surgery, the survival rate for kids living with DIPG is low. After her diagnosis at Seattle Children's hospital, doctors told Annie to take Claire home and start building memories because she'd likely have 6-9 months to live.
Claire's exceeded that life expectancy, but it's very possible that she might not make it to see her favorite holiday one last time and that's why Annie asked her neighbors to put up their Christmas lights early. She never expected the huge outpouring of support she got from people all over the Treasure Valley and was completely overwhelmed by the love. We know that she needs to focus all of her time and energy on Claire right now and that's why we're stepping in to help spread a little early LITE-FM Christmas Wish Love.
We've been blessed to meet another Eagle mom named Rachel who's an absolute fireball. She marched city hall in Eagle to see if we could borrow Reid Merrill Park for a special Christmas surprise for Claire and not only did the city say yes, they donated all of the permits to make it happen.
"Christmas for Claire" will take place at the park on Saturday, November 2 from 6-9 p.m. Don't ruin the surprise for Claire, but we're planning to take her on a horse drawn sleigh ride around the park to see a whole bunch of Christmas lights! That's where you come in. There are 100 12x12 spots along the pathway at Reid Merrill that need to be dressed up and turned into a winter wonderland. You can reserve one of those spots to decorate for $10 (100% of the proceeds will be donated to Claire's family to assist with her care.) To reserve a spot, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not able to decorate a spot? We know Claire would still LOVE to see you at this special day for her. There will be carolers, elves and a visit from Santa. Thanks to our friend Katie at Olive Tree Photography, portraits of your kids with Santa are available for a small donation to the Elliot family. When they're done with the man in red, they'll be able to make a special Christmas card for Claire.
If you're not able to attend and still want to make a difference for this sweet family, there's a bank account named "Sunshine for Claire's Family" set up at Idaho Central Credit Unions across the Treasure Valley. You're able to donate at any branch. The family is requesting donations in lieu of gifts because Claire's time is limited. This will help them defray her medical cost and any future arrangements that they'll need to make.
Let's make this early Christmas one of the best memories for Claire and her family! You can RSVP to the event on Facebook to keep up to date on all the plans for Claire's special day.
Claire was featured on Maggie O'Mara's "7's Hero" story on Sunday night. If you didn't get a chance to see it, watch the story below to meet Claire and her mom.