Santa Claus came to town a bit early – at least in Port Hope on Sunday, December 20, 2020.
Well, to be accurate, it wasn’t Santa Claus, it was 15-year-old Owen Reid who was in a wheelchair surrounded by a sleigh his mother Sarah Orr made for him.
For the last several years Sarah has made costumes that fit over the wheelchair so Owen can go out on Halloween. This year due to COVID-19, Owen wasn’t receiving treats, he was giving them.
Owen has a progressive, incurable disease.
Symptoms started to appear when he was three-years-old, but it wasn’t actually diagnosed until he was approximately eight-years-old.
The proper name is neuro-dengenerative brain-iron accumulation disorder and a mitochondrial dysfunction.
Most of the town knows of the mother and son who have a bond that captures the heart of everyone who meets the them.
Owen has been in a wheelchair since he was eight-years-old.
Like everyone this year, Sarah is extremely careful because of COVID-19.
With Owen’s conditions, if he contracted it, it would be devastating.
Sarah and her friends wanted to add a bit of cheer in the neighbourhood where she lives, and Owen aka Santa was leading the charge.
For days Sarah worked on her sleigh, cutting, painting, and naming the it Santa 2020 Delivering Hope.”
“This year has been a very difficult year for a lot of people and I think a little bit of something might brighten somebody’s day and this might help.”
Along with friends (elves) Kelly Sage, Kacy Gibney, Avalon McMillan, Julie Clark, Jenny Gardnier and Issy Gardiner the group headed around the neighbourhood in Port Hope delivering bags of goodies with a message, “Wishing You A Very Happy Christmas Filled With Fun & Laughter.”
At 3:30 p.m. the sleigh was fitted on the wheelchair and the group was off.
While Santa wheeled around in his sleigh, the elves dropped off the goody gift bags to mailboxes.
“He loves holidays, he loves people and he loves riding around in his vehicles (sleigh).”
“This year has been very difficult for him socially.”
“This is the first time he’s been out and been able to see friends and kind of do something a little social while we distance at the same time.”
Sarah said the day meant so much to her son, but when asked about what the day meant to her, Sarah chokes back tears.
“It’s been a rough year. This year has been hard for a lot of people.”
“I think we all needed a little something extra to give us a little boost for Christmas.”
“It’s been a difficult year and Christmas is a little harder for everybody.”
“This kind of got us going a little bit and brought us all a little bit more Christmas cheer to spread to others.”
Kelly Sage was one of the elves and said it was an amazing experience.
“We just wanted to spread some Christmas cheer because it’s been a horrible year.”
“It was absolutely amazing to be able to spread some Christmas cheer – hopefully it puts a smile on peoples faces.”
The name of the sleigh was called “Delivering Hope” for a reason.
“Just delivering hope for a better next year and a good Christmas for everybody this year.”
Helping making the afternoon a success were Home Depot and Canada Candy Company.