Saturday, October 17, 2015

It's been So much fun

This has been an amazing ride , I have been able to live a dream help countless people and raise awareness for so many social causes along the way . 
As of Christmas 2015, though I love it so much I will be shutting down FVsecretsanta . I no longer have the energy , strength or financial means to support this venture any further . 
What started out as a goodwill gesture on behalf of my son soon grew into something much larger than I ever could have imagined and more rewarding than the lottery. I have dedicated myself to helping others through a universal symbol such as Santa , sure there have been times that I caught some backlash , people assumed that I was profiting off the generosity of others, the donations that were made were not real so I in turn started posting pictures of all Santa Random present drops  but plain and simple I never took or used a dime for personal gain it actually cost me money but I am not complaining just stating a fact, I did it because I loves it . Now for my own selfish reasons I will step back and observe the kindness of others in hopes that maybe some of the joy and goodwill that was spread by the Santa Army will have rubbed off on others.There have been gifts sent to places like Germany, Australia ,England , Japan the USA and even a place in Italy and Russia. As some of you may know if you followed my Facebook or Twitter pages or blogs  , this has been a very emotional and tough year in my life . The bout of depression that I have suffered , the disolve of my marriage and the changing of careers along now with some new health concerns , I am adjusting slowly to my new life and I have decided that for my health and peace of mind this is now my time to do what I want to do , we only have one life to live , there are no do overs or practice time this is simply it we are born the same and we will all pass the same life is short and we only get one crack at it . I hope that maybe one day in the future we can revisit , recharge and re ignite FVsecretsanta and show the world just how easy it is to spread kindness and compassion to others . 
I started thinking back to some of the most memorable donations that were made just from me posting a few words in social media here is my top 5 Counting down to my most memorable 
5. The clancy's meats grand opening in Cloverdale BC , during this event I was able to live tweet from the location asking for food donations and also meet Kai and Tara Jean from 96.9 Jack FM , tweeting from the location we were able to bring people in with bags of food for the food bank , it was very cool to hear some come in and ask who FVsecretsanta was and since I remained anonymous no one knew and just used kindness to help. 
4. The SHARE food bank in Coquitlam food drive , once again live tweeting sitting in my car directing people via tweets and watching car after car drive in with bags of food and donations for the hungry and homeless , there is no better feeling 
3. During an outing with one of my clients , my most memorable client ever (just saying) , here was a young man that had Cerebral palsy and was crapped on by the ministry his family and life in general said to me , "I would love to do something nice for some sick kids this Christmas" so after talking more about it hearing his passion , I let him in on  secret Santa he was so excited ! we hatched a plan . He and I went and bought 50 stuffed animals for the kids , coffee mugs and other assorted items for the parents and other family members  and we went off to Canuck Place , the pure joy he got from making that Santa Drop was worth the price of admission , this wasn't just  a drop it was a life changing moment for him to know he brought smiles to children and family members that we're dealing with a very difficult situation and that he has and will never meet,  that he did not stop talking about and still does to this day , I received a letter of thanks from Canuck place that I promptly placed in a frame for him to keep.this frame sits in his room as a reminder that even though people have given up on him for his disability, he never gave up on people
2. The disabled persons BBQ, for years I worked for a non profit that had an annual event for its clients , the first year I was there I saw a total of 5 gifts given out to clients as a door prize , this to me was unfair I would see the look on the clients faces that did not win and they could not understand why they couldn't have something too , they didn't have the concept that there was just no money in the budget for all 100 plus to each receive a small something , I made it a mission that by the next seasons BBQ everyone who came would leave with something so they too could feel special, I just didn't know what it would be , Team Santa pulled it off , through a barrage of tweets and plea's via the phone and email companies like Telus, Sunrise Toyota , BC lions football club , musician Bobby wills , radio host Scott Rintoul from TSN 1040 and the donations from Team Santa followers we were able to meet our goal and raised 134 gifts, enough for each and every disabled and mentally challenged individual that showed up , it was amazing . I am proud to say that we kept this tradition alive for the next 4 years until I left the company. Thank you everyone. 
1.everyday I used to drive by the corner of Fraser Hwy and 264th street and honestly never really paid attention to my surroundings until the day I saw the fire dept who was dousing a fully flame engulfed truck and camper unit , I like many others stopped to watch these brave men and women do their magic to try and salvage anything not burned and to keep the occupant and his dog safe. I turned to the man beside me and stated " wow that's not a good way to start your vacation" the man explained that this was the mans home he had suffered some health problems his wife had passed away and all he had left was his truck trailer and his best friend , the dog. I dove more into the story and found that there was no electricity and he was using a candle for heat and light at night. When he was about to go to sleep the dog accidentally knocked the candle over sparking the blaze , this man who had nothing , lost everything. Making a plea once again with a few words on social media within 2 hours this man had a new camper and truck , food , clothes , gift certificates and the most important electricity was provided by a local company that allowed him to plug in and use their power outlet along with a parking space for safety and piece of mind. This to me was simply amazing and showed me just how generous people can be when others are in distress. 
I do have an honourable mention for top Santa Drop story that really touched me . 
I opened my email one day to see a letter from a young lady in London England . This young lady shared a story of her Brother who was in his early 20's and was a mentally challenged individual. The person explained that her brother loves Christmas and Santa so much that simply for believing in Santa all year long  he was beat up and criticized and was losing his excitement for Christmas and faith in people , it was the one part of the year that his disability was not at the front of his mind , it was replaced by smiles and joy. The girl explained to me how her brother was the most amazing person and just simply was degrading and regressing through sadness . After reading and hearing this I needed to do something , I was able to correspond back and forth with this young lady to discover more about this young man. I learned about his favourite Football team and other small nuances about him and created a personal package along with a hand written letter from Santa himself and sent it off to see if we could help in some small way . Weeks went by and I opened another email , included was a picture of the biggest smile I have ever seen not only on this young mans face but the whole family. I felt amazing and still to this day I receive updates once and awhile from this young lady on the progress of her brother, happy to say he has maintained that smile and his Faith in Santa and the Christmas spirit. 
I have been asked to write a book about my experiences as a secret Santa and doing it all while living with depression that I never knew I had. I will report that I am about 70% done and I am dedicating the book to my wife and children , I love them so much and could not have become half the man I am without their love. Proceeds from the book will have a charity component to it of course, I am not sure if I will sell one or 100 books but i have enjoyed every second of the writing adventure and it was an eye opening experience writing it, I have learned a lot about myself and why I do what I do. My blogs will remain open , Menhurt2 and Santa Space as I will update my life and the recovery process of a person suffering with depression and separation. I hope that you will continue to follow and interact with me from time to time I really love hearing words of encouragement and stories of kindness from all 33k of you who followed this journey with me for the last 9 years. Don't be sad that it's over , be happy that we all got to be a part of something wonderful.     I have made some happy , I have made some sad but in the end I would like to feel that I at one point or another have made all of you smile.