1. It’s for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Denver resident Rich Rice dressed as Santa for the first time in 2000, and it’s grown each year since. In 2012 he officially became a professional Santa by going to Santa school. He’s been working in malls, making visits with children’s cancer patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other facilities and does other charity work as Santa. Christmas Miracles in July is a Christmas-themed event aimed to raise money and awareness for St. Jude.
2. The event is July 28 at ELHS
Christmas Miracles in July will run from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at East Lincoln High School, 6741 N.C. 73. The July 28 event will include visits with Santa, bounce houses for kids, games, face painting, a basketball tournament and food and drinks from local vendors. Another special guest is Donavan, a “brain cancer survivor and superhero.” Starting at 6 p.m. there will be live music by Craig Rainey and Friends as well as High Road, which is an all-female gospel group from Nashville, Tenn.
3. There are a few ways to help support the cause
Those interested in donating to the cause can do so by becoming an event sponsor, donating directly or by attending the event. Donations will also be accepted in the name of Rich "Santa" Rice Christmas Miracles at Fifth Third Bank in Denver, 7471 Eastcross Drive, or online at www.stjude.org – just search for the event name. Ticket costs start at $5, or a larger donation can be made. Get your tickets at the gate or beforehand at McDonald’s (171 N.C. 16, Denver), Meineke (7270 N.C. 73, Denver) or Napa Auto Parts (4110 N.C 16 N., Denver).
4. St. Jude uses donations for research and daily operation costs
According to a press release sent by Rice, staff at St. Jude never deny someone of treatment “because of a family’s inability to pay,” making events like Christmas Miracles in July critical to the organization’s sustainability. The daily operating cost of St. Jude is $1 billion, the release states. It has served children from all 50 states and, according to the release, “the hospital’s research has helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the institution opened to almost 80 percent today.”
5. There’s a meeting July 13 for volunteers
From 5:30-6 p.m. on Friday, July 13, there will be a meeting at ELHS. Rice is asking those who are interested in helping setup or participate in the event to attend the meeting. More volunteers are needed for the event to help make it a big success, and responsibilities will be delegated at the meeting.
For information about the meeting and charity event, visit www.facebook.com/SantaCharity777.