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Annual party for children with cancer spreads the holiday cheer

Posted: December 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Chris and Sue Hoefflin, the parents of Michael Hoefflin for the which the foundation was named, pose with Santa Sunday at the annual Michael Hoefflin Foundation & Golden Valley High School Holiday Party for Kids with Cancer. Signal photo by Jim Holt.

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More than 180 kids got a chance to meet Santa and go home with a gift or two Sunday at the annual Michael Hoefflin Foundation & Golden Valley High School Holiday Party for Kids with Cancer.

Kids were treated to a meal and some festive music. Then, for dessert, they were turned loose on a gymnasium filled with toys.

“They remember the room, that’s what they’re waiting for,” said Scott Colley, referring to his two children remembering the great time that had at last year’s Foundation party.

His son Nicholas, 6, and daughter, 7, sat on Santa’s knee and told him what they would like for Christmas. But, they emerged from the experience excited about the toy room.

For eight years, kids have remained the focus of attention for the volunteers who put it all together.

“This is the true meaning of Christmas,” said event organizer Sgt. Gerri McCorkle with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as she looked out at the kids eating with their parents.

“We started this eight years ago and we just kept it going,” she said.

Organizations taking a lead role in making the Foundation party happen include: the Sheriff’s Department, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, Pitchess Detention Center, Michael Hoefflin Foundation and Golden Valley High School.

Sheriff’s Station volunteers collected toys at each of the four jail facilities at Pitchess Detention Center.

Santa Clarita Valley residents donated toys to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station’s Annual Toy Drive. In turn, Sheriff’s Station volunteers collected those toys, as well as addition toys from each of the four jail facilities at Pitchess Detention Center.

The gifts were distributed to children who are battling childhood cancer in the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and Antelope valleys, according to organizers.

Providing entertainment for families Sunday were Western Music Performer John Bergstrom, retired Saugus High School history teacher and the Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble from the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District.

Michael Hoefflin died of cancer at age 11 on May 15, 1996.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter
@jamesarthurholt

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