Santa won’t be flying around Gastonia in a sleigh next week. He’ll be flying in an airplane, and local children battling illness this holiday season are invited to fly along.
A local marketing company and the businesses it serves are teaming up to offer the special event called “Miracles in the Sky.”
Jennifer Fredell, with Southern Belle Marketing, hopes the event will give children with health problems an extraordinary experience. They’ll hop on a private plane with Santa Claus to get a bird’s eye view of the city’s Christmas decorations, she said.
A local pilot, Christopher Rabb, is donating his time to fly the kids. He’s a private pilot and has been a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force for more than 10 years.
The event is specifically for children battling illness or disorders. They don’t necessarily have to be in the hospital for care, Fredell said.
But for the children that are hospitalized and can’t make it out of the hospital, Fredell says local business are collecting toys that Santa will be handing out at Levine Children’s Hospital before Christmas. They’re also accepting money to go toward buying additional gifts, Fredell said.
The children have made wish lists of items they hope to receive, but any toys, clothes or gift cards are accepted, Fredell said.
The parents are even getting a piece of the action. Fredell says money will be raised to give the family gift cards or other items they may need, even food.
“They have these chronically ill children and they live in the hospital day in and day out so we need to help the parents too,” she said.