To all of our readers, I wish you a Merry Christmas and hopes for a peaceful, prosperous and joyous New Year. For those of you who celebrate holidays other than Christmas, I wish you a wonderful holiday season.
As my daughter and I drive to Ellsworth each morning, we listen to the Dave Ryan Show on KDWB. We especially love the Christmas Wish segment they do every day in December. People write in to nominate an individual or family in need to have their Christmas wishes fulfilled. It could be someone who’s battling cancer, a family who lost a loved one, or someone who’s just had a tough year.
Dave Ryan starts off each segment with a “mascara alert,” which is accurate. Nine times out of 10, tears will be trickling down my face as I listen to people read their nomination letters. I don’t know why I even wear eyeliner in December. It’s pointless because I’m a big sap.
Some of the stories are absolutely heartbreaking, some are inspiring. A 24-year-old snowboard enthusiast diagnosed with ALS, which is fatal. A mother of four waiting on a liver transplant list with little hope of receiving one. A 25-year-old single woman who took in her sister’s four children after her sister died in a car crash. A beloved school lunch lady whose husband died suddenly of COVID.
In all cases, the people are struggling financially. Christmas gifts might not even be a thought. In some cases, people can barely pay their bills or get food on the table, so extras such as presents, forget it.
KDWB raises money for Christmas Wish through a registered 501(C)(3). Many businesses also donate money, gift cards, services, etc. A team at the radio station uses donated funds to purchase some specialized gifts for the families, such as winter coats, clothing, needed appliances, car repairs and more.
The trick for those nominating someone is to make sure that person will pick up their phone on the morning KDWB calls. When they answer, the radio deejays introduce themselves, ask the nominator to read the letter, then have someone waiting outside the person’s house with the donated items.
Their reactions are truly priceless, which prompts the tears to flow. I can think of nothing better than making someone’s holiday more joyful, especially someone who truly needs it. Listening to this segment makes me realize how much I take for granted, how much I am truly blessed. It’s a good reminder every year to be thankful.
Listening to these stories with my daughter is impactful as well. She’s already a thoughtful child, but I can see her wheels turning as she listens to people’s wishes and hardships. She’s starting to see that giving can be so much better than receiving.
So when you’re standing in line with a cart full of toys, cursing the wrinkled wrapping paper at 1 a.m., frantically checking your lists twice, despairing because your in-laws are coming and you dislike their visits, take a moment to breathe and remember your blessings. Remember that some people would give their front teeth to have these minor problems, annoyances really, instead of the ones they have.
BY SARAH NIGBOR