Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Find Your Inner Santa

Yesterday, I received a powerful email from a friend.

You see on one of my darkest nights in the NICU, I promised myself, my son, God and anyone else that would listen that I would do whatever I could to help make a difference in the world.

Whether it was during my work day or in my community or for other NICU families either living or bereaved, I was going to be there.

As a former NICU Dad, I know that we are not the type of people to ask for help, or to take help even when it's offered. So I share our experience in the hopes that someone anonymously searching for support would find it and get a moment of peace during an extremely difficult time.

Along the way I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people who are doing great work in this world. So I hope you enjoy this message and find your "inner Santa everyday" and check out my friends at Beyond the Laces and see how they are joining together with others to make the world a better place.

I hope you find it as meaningful as I did - because Seeing Owen is not just about being present in my son's life, but teaching him to understand how blessed we are to have him and how important it is to give back in good times and bad.

The Real Santa
In the 1947, quintessential Christmas movie, “Miracle on 34th Street,” attorney Fred Gailey, played by the renowned John Payne, proves that a department store Santa Claus, played by Edmund Gwenn, is, in fact, the real Santa. Gwenn would go on to garner an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his role.
Should there ever be a 21st century remake, the reprising role of Santa would have to be given to none other than Chester Davis. Amongst those in-the-know, Chester Davis IS Santa Claus!
Because the persona of Santa means so much to so many, the red-suited character has come to define the joy of Christmas. He is the symbol of love, kindness, and giving that surrounds our childhood memories of this season. As Chester himself noted, “It's more than a Santa suit… it's the heart you put inside it.”
So, not only does Chester look like the real Santa, he lives that role. And he lives it 365 days a year! Chester feels that Santa and the joy the holiday creates, should not be limited to December only. Throughout the year Chester does just that!
Yes, he devotedly dons his magical red suit in December. But there are many of us who have seen him in his Santa hat… and Bermuda shorts!
You see, Chester donates his time as Santa for many events and venues surrounding children. One event and cause that is close to Chester’s heart is the THE BELIEVE PROJECT.
This non-denominational organization is based in central New Jersey. It was founded by Mark Zacharczyk, a successful Jersey Shore restauranteur and mortgage advisor. Along with his brother, Lee, THE BELIEVE PROJECT has been crafted on the idea of giving back to children who have been stricken with cancer, or some other acute or chronic illness, by sharing with them the passion for the holidays, in general, and Christmas, in particular.
It is here, with the desire to reach these children, that Chester brings Santa’s excitement, happiness, and, in love, the hope that surrounds the Christmas season. But, with THE BELIEVE PROJECT it is done in July! Christmas in July is, indeed, just one of the ways this 365-day-a-year Santa shares his heart with others.
Thus, Chester has taken Santa to a new level as he inspires and helps children all year round. In so doing, he also is part of a movement surrounding a childrens’ book entitled Beyond The Laces. The book’s message is to inspire through kindness and encourages its readers, both young and old alike, to never give up. 
The storyline’s backdrop is that of the game of football. For that reason, it is supported by many professional athletes and known sports personalities. And it is often seen in Chester’s Santa’s hands as he spreads Christmas joy by handing out copies to inspire and make children happy… regardless of what month it is! 
He feels this story hits the heart and that its message mirrors his own mission to make a difference. As he observes, “I like to think all of us have a little bit of Santa in us.” And with this kind, compassionate man, that joyful “bit of Santa” is made abundantly visible.
Thus, one can quickly see, there is no doubt “Miracle’s” Fred Gailey would have little trouble convincing a jury that Chester Davis was, indeed, the real Santa!Sincerely, 

Bob Salomon and Rick Young
"Inspiring Children Through Kindness"