A father of four battling ALS experienced a Christmas miracle when a self-declared Secret Santa gave his family $10,000.
Wyatt Rees, 33, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and his wife Mindy couldn’t control their tears when a team from EastIdahoNews.com surprised him with the check, courtesy of an anonymous donor that committed to give away $200,000 to deserving people living in the area with the help of the local journalists.
“Thank you,” Mindy said as she wiped away tears from her husband’s face. “Whoever did that, I can’t thank anybody enough. I’m not going to lie, I almost feel guilty because there are probably a lot of people out there who need it, but I appreciate it. It’s over the top.”
His mom, Christie Rees, explained they now plan to spend the money to build a ramp in their home so Wyatt will be mobile enough to meet with research teams that specialize in ALS.
Wyatt was officially diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disease in August 2017, but has been experiencing symptoms for the last three years.
He now relies on a wheelchair, speaks through a computer and eats using a feeding tube attached to his stomach.
As a result, Wyatt cannot work and his family, including children aged 7, 5, 2, and four months, are living off his savings.
“This just came right out of the blue,” his sister told East Idaho News. “He was the main bread winner of the family.”
Despite the difficult years, Mindy explained they have always kept their head up.
“We love each other," Mindy said. "We just do you do whatever you have to. He has a good attitude despite hard days.”
A close friend reached out to EastIdahoNews.com to nominate the couple for the prize after they posted about the anonymous Secret Santa on their website.
“Mindy is a strong and happy person," the friend wrote. "She loves Wyatt and her family very much. They have four small children who could really use some extra care and love this Christmas. Mindy and Wyatt just celebrated their 11th anniversary and could also really use some happy times together."