Axis Insurance Agency needs your vote by October 31 to win $10,000 for Christmas in July Charity. Read about their amazing dedication to bringing smiles and comfort to children and families enduring hospitalizations and medical treatment.
Out of adversity, a sense of purpose
After surviving a near-fatal ATV accident, Greg Cemke wanted to use his second chance at life to give back to his community. He inquired about patient needs at the Marshfield Children’s Hospital near his home in central Wisconsin, then pitched his idea: the Christmas in July Charity. The hospital was all in.
“Seeing the smiles on children’s and parents’ faces is the biggest joy that Santa has because some of those kids, and parents as well, haven’t smiled in a long time.”
– Greg Cemke, Christmas in July Charity founder and Santa
Spreading joy year-round
Twice a year, Christmas in July Charity organizes toy drives. Donated toys are given to patients for their birthdays, end-of-treatment parties and the big event: Christmas in July. That’s when Santa Greg and his “helpers” arrive at the hospital aboard their motorcycles to personally deliver gifts to kids undergoing treatment. (Why motorcycles? Because Santa’s sleigh doesn’t work in July — no snow!)
“Seeing the smiles on children’s and parents’ faces is the biggest joy that Santa has because some of those kids, and parents as well, haven’t smiled in a long time,” said Cemke.
The charity also helps the hospital provide age-appropriate, safe play environments to benefit the mental health of kids undergoing lengthy hospital stays. Games and portable sensory stations help families pass the time and reduce their loved one’s anxiety during treatment.
A meaningful way to support their community
While Axis Insurance Agency has been supporting Christmas in July Charity for less than two years, they’re deeply supportive of Cemke’s mission. “Having a niece that has been hospitalized at Marshfield several times makes what Christmas in July Charity does all the more meaningful,” says agency principal Paula Vesely.
Vesely shared how Cemke expresses gratitude for every donation, no matter how big or small, because every bit adds up to help the kids. “Each encounter with Greg’s never-ending passion and joy reaffirms why we are so excited to continue partnering with Christmas in July Charity,” she adds.
The agency began their support by sponsoring Christmas in July Charity’s website, and the relationship quickly grew. Agency staff volunteer at the organization’s events, and they named it their 2021 and 2022 Charity of Choice at their customer appreciation event each of those years. Over 200 agency clients attended and donated funds, toys and books for the kids.
“Each encounter with Greg’s never-ending passion and joy reaffirms why we are so excited to continue partnering with Christmas in July Charity.”
– Paula Vesely, Axis Insurance Agency principal
Help make a difference for pediatric patients
A Make More Happen Award would allow Christmas in July Charity to fund an activity and rehab area for patients that hasn’t been updated in over 25 years. New, comfortable furniture, better lighting, movies and games, and activity tables would create an inviting space for kids to get out of their rooms and just “be kids” together. Parents and caregivers would also be able to use the space to develop support systems with each other.
If your agency volunteers with a 501(c)3 nonprofit, learn how you can win a Make More Happen Award here.