For Jenny and Tré Wilkins, Christmas can be especially difficult. They lost their beautiful four-year-old daughter, Catie, nearly three years ago to cancer. If there is a glimmer of light in the midst of such loss, however, the Wilkins credit a mischievous elf for providing hope and honoring Catie’s legacy.
While Catie battled the ravages of cancer treatment during the holiday season, she took solace in the make-believe world of Santa’s elves. She was given a special stuffed elf from the company Host an Elf, and that beloved elf was “responsible” for all kinds of mischievous acts, such as covering the kitchen in flour, pulling clothes out of Catie’s dresser drawer, and even spending a night in the freezer because he was homesick for the North Pole.
“Catie’s elf provided a way for her to escape the reality of cancer and enjoy the magic of the holidays,” explains Jenny Wilkins. “We had so much fun with that elf. Every day, Catie woke up eager to find out what her ‘silly elf’ had done while she slept.”
But the whimsical fantasy of holiday elves was inexplicably replaced with the harshest of realities when Catie lost her courageous battle just weeks after Christmas.
Desperate to get through the first Christmas without Catie, her mom searched stores and the Internet for affordable elves to give to some of Catie’s friends who were still battling cancer. When she found the company which made Catie’s elf, she called, asking if they would consider giving her a bulk discount. After hearing Catie’s story, the owners of Host an Elf were so moved, the company decided to donate as many elves as the Wilkins needed – and then, they decided to take it a step further. The owners worked with Jenny to create a program called “Elves from Catie” which honors Catie by allowing others to purchase an elf for a child with cancer, with 30 percent of the proceeds going to CURE Childhood Cancer earmarked for pediatric cancer research.
“Far too many children will be spending the holidays in children’s hospitals receiving cancer treatment, and ‘Elves from Catie’ is a powerful way to share a special gift with them and make a significant contribution to fund a cure for childhood cancer,” says Kristin Connor, Executive Director of CURE Childhood Cancer.
For more information or to donate an elf to a child with cancer, visit www.elvesfromcatie.com.