Kelli and I get asked all the time, how did you come up with Stuff the Sleigh and how did you make it happen? The honest answer is that we have no clue, but we had a passion and a missional-like desire to do something and do something good – that’s it; plain and simple.
I learned at an early age that things don’t matter; good people matter. When I was in high school, I had some titans in business and politics selflessly help me be a part of some extremely prestigious programs around the world that forever changed me. The fact that these people helped me, without seeking the self-promoting lime-light of the media, had an indelible impact upon me. I said that one day, when I’m in a similar position, I want to be like them and give back. To this day, I still firmly and fundamentally believe that if you dream it, if you believe it, if you espouse it and if you wrap yourself around incredibly talented and good people, the whisper of hope and the magic of a dream can change the world.
My incredible wife, who possesses the most uncanny common sense and God-given instincts, has a heart and compassion for those children that have been dealt a tough blow physically – those who, to no fault of their own, suffered physical ailments and afflictions. She has been an advocate and voice at Special Olympics and had a heart for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, where she volunteered countless hours as part of her sorority’s philanthropy.
Individually and collectively, we’ve had a heart to help others and simply do good – nothing more and nothing else. But for years, we just talked about doing something, and after countless years of fantastic excuses, we decided to just “do”.
So in 2008, we established Stuff the Sleigh and decided we wanted to help kids that have cancer. We chose this group because this was a segment of life where we weren’t fixing the problems of bad decisions, we weren’t enabling and correcting the wrongs of others. Through no fault of their own, these pure, innocent children have to experience and suffer life-changing adult decisions in which they feel and stare down fatality every second of every day, having to shoulder the oppressive burden of insidious pain and mortality daily. All we want to do is to do good for these kids and for a small moment in time, create an atmosphere where kids can be kids – where children can experience what it’s like to be a kid again, where innocence is restored and the miracle of joy can radiate for a brief moment in time. We want to help restore hope where hope has been lost.
Along the way, we’ve had a tremendous outpouring and outflow of love, help and support from countless true friends, small businesses, corporations and an army of volunteers, all of whom have sacrificially given. We have a long ways to go, are only at the base of this mountain and have a heck of a journey to climb together. We couldn’t do this just by ourselves. To all of our countless friends, Texas Children’s Hospital, and the many who have caught the vision and the fire to do good, we thank you.
We invite you to be a part of who we are and what we do. Sign up, volunteer, donate, pray, or just spread the word. Get your kids and your community involved in what truly matters. People matter. You matter. These kids matter. Whether it’s through Stuff the Sleigh or elsewhere, we ask that you, too, regain a piece of that magical innocence and you show up to just do good. The ripple can create a tsunami. Go and be, and just do.
People ask how we got the name. It was quite simple: when we first started STS to provide Christmas for kids with cancer (and their siblings and parents), we thought the name embodied the spirit of Christmas, was a call to action and just had a great sound. As we have grown this to a year-round charity, we wanted to keep the name and the spirit alive. The spirit of Christmas should be year round. We added our tag line: Never. Stop. Believing. because it is a powerful statement that has multiple meanings for both the kiddos with cancer and their families, as well as the army of volunteers and our communities that so generously give back. So many times, life gets in the way of having the child-like innocence of faith and believing. Part of our mission is to restore that, not only for the families going through these tribulations, but also for our communities that have so much as a way to restore that faith and hope and desire to give back. It’s an avenue for families to teach their children about selfless giving. Thus, we thought it appropriate to always inspire, to never give up and to remind all to Never. Stop. Believing.
Thank you for believing in us and in our little cause. While we are far from perfect, we strive to do the best we can with what we have. We ask that you grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes walking through this site and experiencing some of the wonderful things that your help, your vision and your inspiration have created. For those families going through the tragedy of cancer with your children, we can’t proclaim to know your pain, but know that we’ll try to walk with you through that journey to a small degree and will try to make things just a bit better. There is hope. We’re here for you. Please feel free to share the good word of Stuff the Sleigh year round.
May God bless you, your family and this precious country,Kelli, Garrett, our kiddos and many friends