Secret Santa surprises local child

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 25, 2013

‘Tis the season of giving – and it’s a message that led to a secret Santa surprise for a deserving Meredith’s Miracle’s family.

Solomon after his treatment this week.

Solomon after his treatment this week.

It was a day like any other when the call came into the Andalusia office for the local non-profit that financially assists families dealing with medical issues with non-medical related costs such as travel and lodging.

But it sure ended with a big smile, said Emily Yehling, Meredith’s Miracle’s executive director.

“I got a call from someone who wants to remain anonymous who said, ‘I want to make Christmas better for a family in Andalusia that I know. Can you help me pull it off?’” Yehling said. “I said, ‘Absolutely,’ and I couldn’t stop smiling because I knew how wonderful this gesture would be for this family.”

Nathaniel Solomon has been battling leukemia for more than a year. Single mom and a physical therapy assistant, Heather, has looked to Meredith’s Miracles to assist with transportation costs when traveling back and forth to Birmingham for Nathaniel’s treatments. Soon, he was in remission, and the family rejoiced; however, that was short-lived. A couple of months ago, Nate began having pain in his eye. Scans revealed a tumor caused from the leukemia cells. He is now undergoing radiation treatment in Dothan five days a week.

The family, who recently relocated from Greenville to be closer to Solomon’s parents – Martha Corvin and John Dewberry both of Babbie – was going to have a Christmas, their aunt, Mary Jackson, said Tuesday.

“Family was going to make sure of it,” Jackson said. “Heather is such a wonderful mother. She hasn’t been able to work because Nathaniel’s been so sick, but then, we got some wonderful news.”

Jackson said that Nathaniel’s battle with cancer is only one of the family’s brushes with tragedy. She said that her niece lost her 8-year-old daughter, Kayla, last August in an ATV wreck in Greenville that sent Nathaniel’s dad to jail for manslaughter.

“But the family doesn’t let that get them down,” Jackson said.

Armed with a list of sizes and wanted Christmas items, the secret Santa accomplished the Christmas surprise and deposited the purchased items at Meredith’s Miracles on Wednesday – just in time for some “elves” AKA Jackson and Yehling – to get them wrapped.

“When they wake up (today), all of these presents, all of these gifts, will be under the tree – and from Santa, just like it’s supposed to be,” Yehling said. “Can you imagine a better Christmas surprise? I can’t.”

Yehling remained tightlipped about the identity of the Solomon’s benefactor.

“They wanted to do something in the true Christmas spirit, and I think this fits the bill perfectly, don’t you?” she said.