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San Tan Valley seasonal Santa Claus searching for kidney donor


After years of putting smiles on children's faces by dressing up as Santa Claus for the holidays, this year is a bit different for Dave Mikelson. This year, Santa Claus, or Dave, is asking the public's help for a special donation — a kidney.

Dave has dressed up as Santa for the past 20 years in Washington, Colorado, and Arizona. From his beard to his glasses to his red overalls, he looks just like Mr. Claus himself. His love for dressing up as Santa has brought many children Christmas memories throughout the years.

"The joy on the kids' faces when they come to see Santa is amazing," he said. "There are plenty of tears too, which makes for some of the best pictures!"

However, the last two years for Dave have been difficult. COVID-19 canceled many meet and greets with Santa last year, and now Dave is dealing with kidney issues. He learned earlier this year his kidney issues had grown more severe and he needed a transplant. His wife Kathi immediately volunteered to be the donor, but the couple was told she wouldn't be able to due to her age and a slight heart issue.

"They tested me and everything was a go, we thought it was going to work," said Kathi. "And then it showed up that I had a heart issue that isn't severe, but it's enough that it's going to keep me from being a donor."

Dave is missing playing his role as Santa in his custom Santa suit and bringing good boys and girls Christmas joy. "This has been a frustrating year," Dave said. "I am definitely missing being able to do the Santa thing, other than our community golf cart parade, which we did last Saturday."

Mr. and Mrs. Claus are now hoping to find a donor by reaching out to others to see if they are a match for Dave, who has A+ blood type. If you or someone you know is interested in helping Santa, contact the Living Donor Transplant Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (602) 406-6199.
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Sunday, 21 April 2024

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