A Christmas Blessing
Often more than not, our team members and volunteers are interacting with families that are at their breaking point dealing with the ongoing pressures of life while being pulled in a hundred different directions as they care for their sick child.
Each year, as the holidays approach it becomes one more item to add to their ongoing to do list of things that need to be done but often gets pushed to the back burner so they can care for their child. As an organization, in order to help lift the burden of the holidays and truly give families a Christmas to remember for those who have a child with an ongoing illness, we have created one of our special outreaches called “Christmas Blessing”.
Our Christmas Blessing is an opportunity for family members, hospital/ care team members or friends to nominate a family that is walking through a difficult season as they care for their child and whom they truly believe could use a “Christmas Blessing”.
Families that are selected by the organization will receive a Christmas to remember, which includes Christmas Dinner, gifts for each of their children and a special getaway.
Spreading Hope Recipients
To Give A Smile was founded by our President choosing to turn a bad situation he endured into something positive. As an organization, we believe in carrying on that same spirit by honoring and recognizing individuals that have overcome challenging circumstances but yet put a positive spin on it and have found a way to give back.
Every year at our annual gala we look to highlight one individual that we have come across in our journey that is doing great work. These individuals are known as our “Spreading Hope Recipients”, who truly have overcome tremendous odds, remain positive, and inspire others through their serving attitude. As an organization, we have elected to not only recognize them for their tremendous achievements, but they have become a part of our community and we use our platform to help promote the work they do.
Meet Shameron Armstrong & his family
(also known as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus & his helpers)
The support that TGAS receives from volunteers is invaluable. We recognize the hard work and dedication that every volunteer does to make our events possible. In 2019, we honored a very special volunteer who has now become an integral part of our organization.
Our president and founder, met a gentleman at one of our outreach events and through his conversation with him learned that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016. Through his journey of battling cancer, he decided to find a way to bring joy to others. Shameron Armstrong and his family created the Santa Claus Experience with him being Santa Claus, his wife being Mrs. Claus and his daughter and granddaughter are Santa’s helpers. Together as a family they spread holiday cheer throughout the DFW metropolex.
In late 2017, the Santa team began partnering with TGAS for all of the DFW Christmas outreach events, including Christmas in July and our December month of Hope. Mr. Armstrong and his family can be found at these events lighting up the faces of boys and girls.
We are grateful for them. They are a priceless gift to TGAS and everyone they meet!
Meet Norah Sedars
Norah Sedars was born in 2010 as a healthy baby girl. As a baby, Norah took a long time to feed but as first time parents, the Sedars reasoned it up to being a normal part of their baby’s growth process. After turning one, Norah’s parents noticed that as a young child her snoring was becoming increasingly concerning and they took her into see a doctor. What the doctor diagnosed that day would change the course of Norah’s life and the life of her family.
The doctor determined that Norah had very mild case of Pierre Robin Sequence otherwise known as PRS which is diagnosed very early on to children born with cleft palates. Those characteristics are usually very small cleft palates and other characteristics. Along with this diagnosis, it was also determined that Norah suffered from sleep apnea and had to undergo jaw surgery. At just 20 months old, Norah underwent a jaw surgery that led to many other findings and surgeries down the road. It was determined later on that Norah had to have tracheostomy. At the hospital she was brought a doll from a family member and her dad drilled a hole in the neck. Norah was able to not only find joy from having the doll, but it brought out a willingness to help others in the same position as herself.
Norah had the idea of purchasing dolls and drilling holes in them while attaching a trach and then handing them out to local children’s hospitals. Families whose children are receiving tracheostomies receive a doll with a special message attached from Norah. The message with a picture simply states, “I would like to bless you with this doll so that you know you are special and loved.”
In October 2017, To Give A Smile had the privilege of honoring Norah with it’s honorable award of “Spreading Hope.” She was the first recipient to ever receive this award. Norah’s story shows us that whatever life may bring your way, at any age, a purpose can be drawn from it.