Manitowoc family that lost daughter gets Christmas surprise

Published: Dec. 21, 2017 at 10:21 PM CST
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A Manitowoc family impacted by tragedy in September got a surprise Thursday to lift their spirits.

A non-profit decided to surprise them, hoping to spread cheer during the family's first Christmas without their beloved daughter.

Bayland Insurance teamed up with a non-profit from Minnesota called "Best Christmas Ever."

"To find a family that's fallen on hard times this year, and through no fault of their own, and we want to tell this family that people from the outside care," said Justin Spettel, Owner of Bayland Insurance.

More than 50 families were nominated in Northeast Wisconsin and a family whose daughter died in a car crash was chosen.

In September, 7-year-old Kadenz McCollum died on her way to camp, after the car she was riding in was struck by a wrong way driver.

Her sister Santanna was also in the car. She is now paralyzed from the chest down.

"We're just so happy to still have her with us and wished that we could have still had Kadenz with us still," said Shari Stevens, Santanna’s grandmother.

On Thursday, a group of volunteers came to the family's home with trunk-loads of gifts.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh,' and I was kind of scared, who was coming in?" said Santanna.

Those people came bearing about 100 gifts.

"It kind of like, brings tears to my eyes," said Santanna.

The gifts came from donations and included a bike that Santanna can pedal with her hands, a stay at the Tundra Lodge, a memorial bench remembering Kadenz, and much more.

"Appreciative because, I mean, they gave my kids a Christmas when I couldn't, so I'm grateful," said Nikkole Gonzalez, Santanna’s mom.