Over 44,000 letters to Santa benefit Make-A-Wish

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 8:15 am

A total of 44,178 letters to Santa generating more than $88,000 will help wishes come true for kids with chronic illness through Macy’s Department Store and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

These letters and more, mostly written by school children, were transported from Fayetteville’s Marvin’s Building Supply to Macy’s Department Store in Nashville where each letter represented a one-dollar donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

Three wheelbarrows containing more than 22,000 letters to Santa were collected through Marvin’s Building Supply stores. The letters will be turned in at Macys Department Store in Cool Springs where they will generate more than $22,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and benefit a chronically ill child. Pictured are (from left) Steve Morton, Danny Pigg, Joey Funderburk, Marvin’s manager, and Melissa Smith, store associate. ~ Staff photo by Laurie Pearson

Three wheelbarrows containing more than 22,000 letters to Santa were collected through Marvin’s Building Supply stores. The letters will be turned in at Macys Department Store in Cool Springs where they will generate more than $22,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and benefit a chronically ill child. Pictured are (from left) Steve Morton, Danny Pigg, Joey Funderburk, Marvin’s manager, and Melissa Smith, store associate. ~ Staff photo by Laurie Pearson

Macy’s department stores across the nation donated two dollars per letter last Friday.  They will pay up to one million dollars to Make-A-Wish for Santa letters they receive at their stores through Dec. 24.

The letter drive starts about two weeks before Halloween. Kids and kids-at-heart can help Make-A-Wish grant more life-changing wishes by writing letters to Santa and depositing them in designated Santa mail letter boxes at any Macy’s store across the country.

All 28 of Marvin’s Building Supply stores in the chain serve as drop-off points for the letters.

This fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation began three years ago with the Steve Morton family of Murfreesboro out of their gratitude to the organization for a trip to the Caribbean with their son, Tyler. Kids who have a life-threatening disease are eligible for Make-A-Wish.

Tyler has a rare disease called Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP). RRP causes abnormal tumor-like lesions to grow on the larynx, and in some cases, the trachea and lungs.

 Left untreated, these tumors can cause suffocation and death. Physicians have told the family that having the tissue removed surgically is the only option.

For more than six years, Tyler has been undergoing surgeries about every three months to remove the tumors. Over the past six years, he’s had 25 surgeries, and now that he’s going through puberty, the growth of the tumors has accelerated.

He now requires surgery every two months. His immune system stays low, and this time he couldn’t be at Marvin’s for the letter pick up because he had the flu.

The partnership with Marvin’s began when Fayetteville’s Danny Pigg, longtime friend of Steve Morton, contacted Marvins’ corporate headquarters and talked to them about the Letters to Santa fundraiser and they agreed to let their stores to be collection points.

“In the last two years, we have raised $130,000 for Make-A-Wish,” said Steve, noting that Marvin’s has gone above and beyond. The two men met with Fayetteville Marvin’s manager, Joey Funderburk, at the store last Monday evening to pick up the letters. Danny dropped off an additional 2,590 letters from Huntland School’s Interact Group and another 60 from his daughter, Kimberlee.

Last Friday, Steve took the Letters to Santa to Macys, where as he was donating, a chronically ill four-year-old girl got a wish.

“She wants to be a princess. They (Make-A-Wish) will give her a makeover and send her to Disney World,” Steve said. “Just seeing a child get a wish is a blessing.”

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