Every Christmas, Ray Sherbourne takes on the role of old Saint Nick, and he even has the authentic white beard to prove it, as originally reported in The Landmark.
After 27 years as a firefighter and former postal worker, Ray is now retired and giving back to the community yet again in the most festive of ways.
Ray is a member of the Secret Sleigh Project, a volunteer organization that started in 2015. The group unites sick children with Santa and his gang of elves during the holidays.
It all started in Colorado with Lily, a young girl who was facing complications with an acute diagnosis that started shortly after her birth. Ray visited Lily, along with 16 other sick children all over Colorado and he wasn’t alone. Mrs. Clause and a few elves joined in on the visit to brighten the children’s lives.
Ray donned the red suit and went to Orange, Massachusetts for his next visit weeks before Christmas. His next mission: the Anderholm family.
6-year-old Christian Anderhold was diagnosed with Congenital Nemaline Myopathy. This rare genetic muscle disorder consists of six different subtypes that range from life-threatening to less severe. Symptoms include muscle weakness, diminished muscle tone, and reduced or absent reflexes. To learn more about nemaline myopathy, click here.
Christian has to travel with a ventilator, trach and wheelchair. Recently, he experienced two broken femurs which has rendered him home bound in a body cast.
Ray is now an official member of the Secret Sleigh Program, and plans on a full slate of home visits next Christmas. He’s also trying to raise awareness of the program to all families of rare disease children.
“ I am just a guy, I don’t have big pockets,” said Sherbourne to The Landmark. “Mostly this would be something where [volunteers] spend some time with a child, read them a book, tell them a Christmas story or hold their hand.”
If you are interested in getting involved in the program, you can contact the gang at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Facebook group by clicking here.