A Secret Santa is back and this Christmas is bigger than ever!
The EastIdahoNews.com team is busy helping a local man gift more than $500,000 this holiday season. A lot more. Secret Santa is a real person who wants to remain anonymous and hopes to help as many individuals in our community as he can.
Randy was diagnosed this summer with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He just turned 50 and his wife, Malena, is only 47. They are the parents of two girls. Their youngest, Makenzie, just started college this fall at BYU-Idaho. Prior to his diagnosis, Randy was serving as a bishop on the BYU-Idaho campus. During his service, they had many students over for meals, love and counseling.
Since his diagnosis, Randy has been undergoing chemotherapy and hasn’t been able to return to work. They have been able to keep up with Randy’s insurance coverage through a Cobra clause but Malena and her girls don’t have any health coverage and she is trying to figure out a solution.
Malena is trying to save and pre-pay for funeral expenses. In addition to financial pressures, her 2005 Nissan has over 141,000 miles and is on its last leg. Their only other vehicle is Randy’s company car which Malena is not authorized to drive. She has asked the company to relocate the vehicle to another office in another state so that she wouldn’t have to see it being driven around town by someone else, which would break her heart since she knows Randy is not going to be the one driving it.
Malena was a stay-at-home mom for most of her life, but now has two part-time jobs at an elementary school and at BYU-Idaho. Somehow she keeps a smile on her face in light of these circumstances and she is an inspiration to all.
Secret Santa was touched by Randy and Melena’s story and asked the East Idaho News elves to pay them a visit. It just so happened to be Melena’s birthday so we left her with a special song too!