Santa's Gift: True Stories of Courage, Humor, Hope and Love

Santa's Gift: True Stories of Courage, Humor, Hope and Love

by Jeffrey W. Comment
     
 

After dressing up as Santa at a local charity’s holiday party, Helzberg Diamonds CEO Jeffrey Comment was inspired to take his Santa impersonation on the road. Every December since 1995, Jeff (a.k.a. "Santa") visits pediatric hospitals around the country to deliver hope, hugs, and teddy bears to hospitalized children.

In Santa’s Gift,

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Overview

After dressing up as Santa at a local charity’s holiday party, Helzberg Diamonds CEO Jeffrey Comment was inspired to take his Santa impersonation on the road. Every December since 1995, Jeff (a.k.a. "Santa") visits pediatric hospitals around the country to deliver hope, hugs, and teddy bears to hospitalized children.

In Santa’s Gift, Comment shares his extraordinary experiences with these children through heartwarming stories that will empower you to reach out and share a little of yourself with someone in need. Each part of this inspiring book also includes reflections from corporate and philanthropic leaders such as Warren Buffett, Sir Elton John, and many others–all of whom discuss the rewards of giving. With a special "Call to Action" section, this unique book not only explores the gift of giving, it also provides guidance to those who would like to bridge the gap between faith and fortune by volunteering, donating, or even beginning their own philanthropic program.

It is possible to make a difference in this world, and Santa’s Gift will show you how. Through these stories and reflections you will experience the contagious quality of one-on-one philanthropy and learn how to contribute in your own personal way.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471225157
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
09/17/2002
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 6.20(h) x 0.78(d)

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Foreword

by Warren Buffet

Many years ago, Ben Graham, my friend and teacher, told me of a goal he had set for himself. Each day, he would attempt to do something creative, something generous, and something foolish. I think Ben included the third activity to avoid sounding "preachy" in recommending the first two.

Jeff Comment has run Helzberg Diamond Shops for Berkshire Hathaway since the day we acquired it in 1995. He's a superb businessman, and I've yet to see him do anything that could conceivably be characterized as foolish. As CEO of Berkshire, I feel lucky to be associated with him.

But, more important, I also feel proud. Jeff is a great citizen, and he has blended Ben's recommendation for creative and generous acts into a program that has lifted the spirits of thousands of ill or disabled children. When Jeff presents his "I Am Loved"® bear, the child receiving it knows that the message is true: The girl or boy can see it in the eyes of the big fellow standing there in the red suit. That's a gift that has more therapeutic value than any pill or wonder drug can deliver.

As I write this, my grandson, Howard, is in his fifth week in the hospital recovering from injuries suffered in an automobile accident. I have seen first-hand the effect of family love on the healing process. Howie bears his pain far more easily when love and humor are in the room with him. He's getting that in abundance, but not all hospital-bound children are so lucky.

In his Santa activities, Jeff has redefined "family," embracing all children as if they were his own. By doing so, he has converted youngsters with impassive faces and lifelessbehavior into the excited and eager human beings they were meant to be. His stories about those children will inspire you, as they have me.

Reflection

by Sir Elton John

Elton John is one of the most successful entertainers of the past 30 years. From his first Top 10 single in the United States—"Your Song"—he has had numerous hits and has also appeared on stage and in films. In the mid-1980s, Elton John became interested in AIDS research, met Ryan White, and formed the Elton John AIDS Foundation. He has donated royalties from his singles to AIDS charities.

I used to think that giving money was what generosity and philanthropy was all about. That was until I spent a week with Ryan White who, at 13, was one of the first and most courageous AIDS activists.

I was with Ryan in Indianapolis in 1990 during the last week of his life. I went to the hospital every day and saw in Ryan and his family humility, generosity, and the ability to forgive during the most tragic and sad circumstances. That week, when, instead of money I gave my time and understood how much it was appreciated, meant so much to me.

That week had a huge impact on me. It was at a time of my life when I was very self-absorbed. I was not behaving very well. I was into drugs and simply out of whack. Ryan's example was the catalyst for me to change my life and get sober and clean and start doing philanthropic work myself.

Many people can't afford to be philanthropic with money, but we all have time we can donate. That is the most important lesson I've learned since Ryan's death. The time I spend with my AIDS Foundation or just talking to people has the most value. There are so many people who need our help. It is important to get involved. When I see how grateful people are, that's the biggest thrill for me. Go see for yourself. The rewards are incredible.

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What People are saying about this

Elton John
It is important to get involved. When I see how grateful people are, that's the biggest thrill for me. Go see for yourself. The rewards are incredible.
Kate Carr
The stories in this book are about children and families who are facing their worst fears and still show their courage. Without this kind of action in the face of fear, it is impossible to move forward.
—Kate Carr, President and CEO, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation
Warren Buffett
In his Santa activities, Jeff has redefined ‘family,' embracing all children as if they were his own. His stories about those children will inspire you as they have me.
—Warren Buffett, Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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