By Kaylee Neal
On December 16, 2019, Nicholas County High School’s secretary Ann Lanham and her husband went to the WVU Children’s Hospital to play the role of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The Lanhams have been playing the Clauses for thirty-eight years.
Northside Dodge and Jeep hosted their annual toy drive for the toys the Lanhams took to the hospital as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Mrs. Lanham said, “We take the toys that are collected up to the hospital. We go up to every room and take a toy to the children.’” The Clauses wouldn’t be able to go to the hospital without the help of Northside, and they plan to continue to visit the hospital every year as long as Northside continues the toy drive. Though the toy drive takes time, it’s worthwhile. They have been going for the past four years now trying to lift up the spirits of 60 to 70 children every year. Mrs. Lanham stated, “It takes the sickness or surgery off of their minds for a little while. The toys we take up there are used throughout the year for birthdays, surgeries, and, of course, Christmas.” The Lanhams try to help in any way possible.
Whenever the Lanhams go to the hospital, it makes their hearts heavy seeing all the sick kids. Mrs. Claus said, “All of these kids are very, very sick. There were at least ten rooms we couldn’t even go into because of the illness…seeing kids from two weeks old to fourteen years old on life support, wires coming out of their heads, wires and tubes, IVs on poles walking down the hall to come see us. It really pulls your heart strings. Once you do it, you will do it again and again.”
The Clauses are great for the children. It takes a kind and motivated heart to do what the Lanhams do all over West Virginia, and we are lucky to have them as part of our family and community.