American Fork company leads Christmas toy donation to Primary Children’s Hospital
As snow fluttered down, Xlear employees and representatives from Primary Children’s Hospital cheered for 14-year-old Lydia Christiansen, her mother and Santa Claus as they arrived in a horse-drawn sleigh to donate boxes of toys.
On Thursday, American Fork’s Xlear held its second annual Santa Sleigh initiative, collating toys and gifts for children at the Salt Lake City hospital.
“We decided to do this to give back to the community,” said Joel Melton, vice president of marketing at Xlear. “We’ve collected about $20,000 in donations, both in toys, some gift cards, a lot of product from companies, and we’re donating that.”
According to Melton, the company decided to donate to Primary Children’s this year because of the facility’s need. The hospital has 220 beds at 95% capacity, he said, while the 2021 recipient of the donations, Shriner’s Hospital, still has gifts left over. The 2021 drive raised over $13,000, the company said at the time.
Christiansen was invited to be Santa’s Helper for the day because of her own experiences at Primary Children’s Hospital. Now 14 years old, she spent significant time in the hospital before receiving a liver transplant in 2010 at just 1 1/2.
She required the transplant after being diagnosed with biliary atresia, a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Still, she had post-surgery complications that required attention and chemotherapy to treat.
“It makes me feel so good that we can help and try to brighten other patients’ Christmases,” she said.
Donations were made by a host of companies from the area including Stampin Up!, Wicked Audio, Fawn Design and more, with a focus on giving items that represent their work.
“This is a great opportunity and a significant force at this time because everyone focuses on Christmas,” Melton said. “Everyone recognizes Christmas as a time of giving and we’re very, very happy to give.”