Secret Santa Stories: How We Helped 224 Families in 2020

Holidays, Lifestyle

Thank you for your donations and helping make our Secret Santa project a HUGE success in 2020. We're so excited to share some of the amazing Secret Santa stories!

Jordan looking at flowers, from Fun Cheap or Free


For the past 4 years, we've hosted a project during the holidays we hold near to our hearts called Secret Santa!! It started small, with us just wanting to give back to our amazing community.

It all started in 2016, when we decided to pay for 3 families' Christmases. I am still in contact with these sweet families; they have touched my heart to the core. I feel a special bond and connection with them that will (for lack of a less cheesy term…) stay with me forever. You Freebs were also touched by the stories I shared! Donations, none of which I even asked for, poured in and we were able to help 14 MORE families with your additional donations!

With our amazing audience – that's YOU – our Secret Santa project has grown exponentially!

Each year, we've been able to send a Christmas gift to even more families. This year, we were able to bless the lives of 224 families thanks to your donations! It was such a privilege to be a part of soooo many family's holiday experiences.

Here are some of the recipients who want to say thank you…

Thank you so much for the generous Christmas present! The message from Jordan was very touching. I appreciated her uplifting words, and for being such a generous and kind person. I would like those that donated to know how much we appreciated them, and their generosity. 

When my wife Hannah was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of May, we were shocked! Being 28 years old, pregnant with our 4th child, and then having a new diagnosis of lung cancer was overwhelming.

While the storm clouds rolled in around us, we tried to remember that even behind the darkest storm clouds the sun is still shining. We found that acts of kindness and uplifting words brought little bursts of sunshine into our lives as we continued forward figuring out a treatment plan.

Hannah was life flighted twice in the same day and we eventually ended up at the U of U hospital in Salt Lake City. At this point she was 24 weeks pregnant, and was on a ventilator.

We started treating the cancer with everything that we could throw at it. We were surprised when the 2nd week of July Hannah delivered our little baby at 27 weeks. I now had 2 of my sweet girls in the hospital with both of them on ventilators.

We celebrated Hannah's birthday a few days later in the hospital. As a birthday surprise, I had arranged to have our other 3 kids come in for Hannah's birthday. They hadn't seen their mom in person in almost a month due to Covid visitor restrictions.

It was an amazing experience to see the kids kiss their mom and give her a big hug. (Earlier the day before we had received news that the cancer had progressed despite aggressive treatments.) Hannah died early the next morning. It was such a miracle for her to get to see the kids. 

This was all a lot to handle. I was with the kids later that day when the hospital called and said that our baby was really sick. She needed emergency surgery. Her prognosis was not great both from the actual condition, but also from the risk of anesthesia. 

The surgery went remarkably well. She was in the hospital another 107 days, but finally came home around Halloween. Our baby came home with no tubes, wires or monitors. What a miracle! We have been adjusting as best we can, as we remember, honor and grieve our sweet Hannah. 

I have been blessed by so many people this year. You reaching out and helping us have a Merry Christmas is something that I will forever treasure. I hope each person that donated will know of the love that we have for them and that they have brightened our day and our holiday season. 

A few pictures in case you want to include them with the thank you. The one is our family a few days after the diagnosis, Hannah in the hospital bed after the diagnosis, Hannah and I visiting our baby in the NICU, and a picture someone painted for our family. 

If there is anything else I can do to thank everyone let me know. Feel free to use as much or as little of what I've included here. Thanks, 

The Davidson Family

To Everyone at Page Company, Thank you for this great Christmas gift!

It was an amazing surprise and will make this Christmas all the more special for our little boy. I wish to share Liam’s story with you, so you may know just what a wonderful child you have helped this Christmas.

Last year, 2019, Liam was a very energetic, ambitious, determined little two-year-old. He loved climbing, playing outside, planes, trains, dinosaurs, and was excited about his new baby sister. At the end of the year, and in January of this year, he started seeming sick. He had less energy, was gettingthinner and thinner, and just did not seem himself.

We brought him into the doctors to see what was going on. The doctor took some blood and said he would get back to us. A few hours later, I got a call from our doctor telling me that we had to get Liam to the small local hospital right away. There we learned that his blood levels were very bad and that this little hospital was not equipped to help him.

One hour later, Liam and I were being shuffled into an ambulance,while my husband immediately left to for the larger hospital 5 hrs away by car. The ambulance took us to a Life FlightPlane. During this confusion, Liam was so excited to be going on a plane. It was his first plane ride. He kept saying, “I am on a big plane!” He was frustrated that he was strapped to the bed and could not see out of the windows, so I took pictures and showed him.

At every picture he would say, “It's probably the wing” to any piece of the plane that was visible. We landed an hour later and were moved to another ambulance. During the unloading, Liam made sure to help instruct them on how to lower his bed out of the plane.

Within seven hours of bringing Liam into the doctors, we were told our little two year old had leukemia. The next night at 9pm, within 48hrs of taking Liam into the doctors, he was receiving his first set of chemo.

For the next nine months, Liam would be in and out of the hospital (mostly in). He celebrated Valentine's Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, and all of summer in the hospital.

During that time, our little family of four rarely got to be all together. Due to COVID restrictions, there were times when it would be just Liam and one parent for an entire month in the hospital. No leaving the unit (sometimes the room), no family, no friends, and no visitors.

During all of this, he kept a smile on and a laugh ready. He loved the toy cart that would come by daily and exchange toys to play with. He worked on puzzles, got very good at Legos, and created so many art pieces. He would make the nurses laugh and would color pages for fellow patients that he was worried about.

Though he could not move around very well, he always made sure to thank people for helping him and wave goodbye when a nurse left. Due to complications, Liam ended up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) four times during the 9month span.

Three of those times, he was kept unconscious. We made sure to read to him throughout the day, play with his hands, and even play his favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes for him. Every time he woke, he would smile. Every time. One time, when they removed his intubation tube from his throat, he looked up at the doctor and said, “Thank You” as best he could.

I remember while lying on the hospital couch after a particularly hard day, my throat got dry, causing me to cough. Liam, from his hospital bed, with multiple medicine lines running, sat up. He looked over at me, and asked, “Mommy, you ok?” Even though he was miserable, sick, and weak from chemo, he was concerned about my little cough.

Liam underwent four chemo therapies, one bone marrow transplant, three intubations, two abdominal drain implants, and too many blood transfusions to count.

When his spinal tap results came back clear, we threw a little party in the hospital room. He had beat cancer! Though with many months to go of other treatments and recovery, this was the best news we could have hoped for. It was a miracle. Recovering at HomeAfter a continuous four month stay in thehospital, Liam was discharged mid-September.

He was sent home with multiple care requirements, including an abdominal drain, his central line, and swollen body from fluid retention. However, it was one of the best days of our lives.

Coming home was the first step to recovering. For the first time in 9 months, our little family of four was together for the foreseeable future! We got a cake and decorated our little apartment. The first time Liam saw his little sister, they ran and hugged each other! It was an amazing and heart-warming thing to see.

When Liam went into the hospital, his sister could not even sit up by herself, and now she was running. He was so happy to be with her again and will often randomly give her a hug and kiss.

Liam has slowly recovered the last two months. He loves to play with his sister, do puzzles, play Yoshi, read, and be outside. He is physically improving and can almost run at this point. He has shown such determination and persistence in his physical therapy.

Instead of getting frustrated and giving up when he cannot physically do something, he will try and try. One time he was trying to set up a toy that was particularly difficult. He kept at it for almost 15 minutes, refusing help, saying, “I want to do it by myself.” He was finally successful after a lot of hard work and was so proud. He made sure to show everyone what he had done and loved that he did not need help.

We are so excited and grateful to have Liam home and to have our little family together for the holidays. With your wonderful gift, we can finish off this difficult year with a great Christmas. We are particularly excited to get Liam a Poochy Plush, a toy he has been asking for since he discovered Yoshi’s Craft World video game.

Thank you again for making our Christmas extra special this year. Merry Christmas!

The Bradford Family

YOU’VE SAVED CHRISTMAS!! I had no idea how loved I was until my sister told me about this gift! I’m excited to be able to have a nice christmas. I have been dreading about how I’m going to make ends meet this year, and this will be a big help!

I found out that my Mom and sisters all recommended me for this Secret Santa, and I am a mess! My little family has had a tough year, and I am still transitioning into single motherhood. It feels like this trial will never end. Like I’m in a marathon, but now they added murder hornets and machine guns and shark tornados and fire to the course!!

I’m constantly overwhelmed! I never planned on being a single parent, but I have to keep going and do the right thing for my kids. But my parents and family have picked me up, cheered me on, and are doing everything in their power to help me get back on my feet. In all the garbage that 2020 has thrown at me, I am truly blessed by my great family! They are the army behind me.

This project answers prayers!! It’s so encouraging and makes me feel like the hard work is starting to pay off. We will have a normal Christmas this year because of this gift. I cannot thank you enough!

The Miles Family

Rachel – Philip’s sweet sister that nominated us – probably didn’t mention much about how their family has been such a huge help to us throughout Preston’s cancer and my Lyme disease issues, but they have been an incredible blessing to us.

Our oldest, Payton, was 3 when Preston was diagnosed, and it was not possible to keep her with me at the hospital while I took care of Preston. So Rachel and Jeremy took Payton into their home and cared for her as if she was their own during the five months we were in the hospital.

Later, when I went to Utah for two weeks for Lyme treatment, they kept Payton and Preston for us so Philip and I would only have Parker to tend to while I went through grueling treatment. They’ve been so incredibly generous and giving to us through all this, and now they are in a difficult spot financially. Rachel’s husband Jeremy has started his own business after being laid off from his job and they have an extremely tight budget.

So with this $500 from you guys, we’ve been able to give our kids some nice gifts this Christmas as well as bless Rachel and Jeremy’s family with a few gifts and a Christmas tree. It has been such a tremendous gift to be able to bless another family this Christmas, and I am so very grateful for that!

I’m praying God blesses you in the same measure you’ve blessed us this year. Merry Christmas!!!

The Roth Family

My family has always believed in helping those in need. My husband is the type of guy who will pull over and help someone change a tire on the side of the road, even if we're running late. We love to be of service to others. We believe that it's up to each individual to do good and make the world a better place and it's a value we are instilling in our children.

To date, we have ‘fostered' five families/individuals at our home. We welcome them to stay with us rent/bill free until they are able to get on their feet. When they are ready to move out, we help them furnish their new home (sometimes partnering with Noah's Home of Hope). It doesn't come without struggle as it's always difficult to live with other people, but the reward of seeing someone move out on their own and live a happy life is absolutely worth it! Not only have we enjoyed seeing others flourish on their own but we have developed deep relationships where we consider these wonderful people our family. We feel truly blessed to contribute in such a positive way.

This year, we have hit a rough spot, ourselves. I was laid off in April and my husband, who works for the same company, has had to take a pay cut and get a second job to make ends meet. We have, however, tried to make the best of it and keep looking to the future. I went back to school and am nearly done with my degree. We have done our best not to let these major life changes negatively affect our children.

This generous gift from Jordan and everyone at FCF will certainly help us provide them with a merry Christmas! We are eternally grateful for the gift and will continue to pay it forward!

The Marchon Family
The Marchon family sitting on a blanket, from Fun Cheap or Free

I am humbled by the thoughts of other people's generosity. I want to say thank you but it doesn't seem to be enough. This year has been very trying, but with the help of my daughter, we've been able to get through it. I couldn't do without her, she's my rock. I haven't had time to really think about what we've went through, but I know I am blessed. God Bless each of you and your team for this gift, it will make Christmas a lot easier. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

The Cook Family

Thank you & everyone. You have brought joy & happiness to our family at this time. This picture is our family’s first Thanksgiving at our home with just our family. We were able to have my wife join us for a few hours. It was very enjoyable. Merry Christmas.

The Sorensen Family
The Sorensen family sitting at a table, from Fun Cheap or Free

I cannot thank you enough for doing this for my family. We are so incredibly thankful and I just still can’t even believe it!

My husband of 10 years was diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disease that the doctors are not able to treat. Within two weeks of feeling off balance, he became completely wheelchair bound, his speech became slurred and he is not able to control his hand and body movement well. Unfortunately with this disease his cerebellar has started to shrink and will continue to shrink. As it continues to shrink, his symptoms will get worse. At this time they haven’t been able to tell us how long he will live.

We have four children ages 5-13 and I am now left taking care of them and my husband on my own. We have very little income coming in ($476 a month) as he can’t work, can’t get social security and I can’t work because I have to take care of him.

So this $500 you have given us is such a huge blessing and I can’t even tell you how much it means to me and my family. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

The Howard Family

Thank you, everyone, who helped with the secret Santa. We are the Billings family. We had our son, Atticus, Oct. 17, 2018, at 34 weeks. He finally was able to come home after 19 days in the NICU.

We thought we were over the hard part. But on Dec, 18, 2018, he passed away for what they said was SIDS. January, we found out we were pregnant again. We were excited but very scared. It didn't last long, because July 19th I had a placental abruption at 28 weeks. Iris was stillborn. They said it was due to having 4 c sections in 5 years… Then there were four. We are doing as well as we can, just having a hard time with Atticus death day coming up.

Trying to do something great with our girls this Christmas season. Thank you again to everyone. Happy Holidays.

The Billings Family
The Billings family on a bench, from Fun Cheap or Free

We are the Gallagher family from Winder, GA. Our two boys are our entire world. With their needs has come so many challenges & financial strain for our family making sure they have everything they need to live successful lives!

When our son Joseph was diagnosed with autism in 2015 we knew we needed to give him every opportunity available to help him through his journey. This meant my husband being the sole breadwinner for our family while I traveled 40 miles one way every day to take Joseph to a special needs school called Sisu. If you haven’t heard of them please look them up, they are AMAZING & truly a one of a kind school!

As many know with special needs babies, insurance tends to not cover certain therapies. We knew as parents, he deserved to be involved with every therapy possible. He worked so hard through the years, he truly became my hero. Fast forward to 2019 Joseph is now 5, he is talking and attending kindergarten with his typical peers!

He truly surprises us every single day with his determination to achieve his goals set by his therapists. And is by far the most loving, compassionate little boy.

Unfortunately a few weeks ago Joseph went in for a routine ear tube & sinus procedure. During the procedure they found a growth inside his sinus cavity that was not there a few years ago for the same surgery. We are currently in the process of scans & testing to see if this mass can be removed with a simple procedure or something more. This means we will travel into Atlanta at least once a week for his appointments.

Our son Lukas who is 8 months old brings us so much JOY! In fact, big brother was the one to tell me I had a baby in my belly & that it was a brother! To our surprise, he was right!

Luke’s journey began before he was even born. At 24 weeks pregnant I was in a hit & run accident. A man ran the red light going over 50 mph causing my car to almost flip over. Luckily, I was able to keep control of the car and walked away with some cuts, bruises, & a hip injury! Luke was checked & the doctors said he was perfect! PRAISE GOD!

On April 3rd I went into labor, I was scheduled for a c-section on the 9th, so the doctor felt it was ok to deliver that night! He was born weighing in at 7 pounds and 11 oz. He was tiny compared to his big brother! When he came out I knew something was wrong with his breathing, I could see my husband's panic, but could do nothing. It was the most terrifying moments of my life.

He was brought into the NICU for treatment where after further testing, they said Lukas was 36 weeks! This shocked us because every date added up correctly on our end & every ultrasound we had he measured right on target!

For 12 long, tiring days we watched our boy fight to become stronger. He was finally able to come home & meet his big brother! It was such an amazing moment.

Once home I knew something wasn’t right. He had uncontrollable leg shaking, breathing struggles, and other signs that just alarmed me as a mom. He was referred to a neurologist who we saw on a regular basis. A few months later the doctor diagnosed our sweet boy with quadriplegia spastic Cerebral Palsy.

Again, our world was crushed. That drive home was quiet & full of prayer. He is in therapy and will soon be fitted for leg braces to hopefully help him walk in the future, something the doctors believe will be a struggle for him. But we know we serve a faithful God & he will walk!

This blessing means so much to our family & we truly cannot thank you enough. This gift will provide our boys with a Christmas that otherwise may have been hard to achieve this year with everything we have going on. We are so grateful for all of you.

The Gallagher Family
The Gallagher family outside, from Fun Cheap or Free


Our team was so uplifted and moved to tears so many times throughout the process! We are so grateful to be able to participate in such a beautiful project each year.

The Fun Cheap or Free Team in front of a Christmas tree

From all of us to you, thank you for your support! Until next year!

Jordan Page Signature from Fun Cheap or Free


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