Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 | 12:33 p.m.
Deck the halls! We’re well into the start of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is past. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, and even the weather forecaster says that there’s a good chance of snow atop the mountains with today’s winter storm warnings.
Christmas is just 23 days away. Tis the season of giving and time to support our Las Vegas charities.
After losing her husband, Bryan, an aerial choreographer for Cirque du Soleil, unexpectedly in 2008, Suzanne Lea was left a widow to look after their two sons. It was a grim time, and anonymous friends decided to brighten their Christmas with gifts based on “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
From that giving was born In12Days to benefit families and children throughout the valley who have lost a parent or another loved one. Suzanne founded the charity, and today In12Days continues that giving spirit with 12 days of graceful gifts based on “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Why and when did you start In12Days?
I am a widow with two boys who, during a period of great suffering, benefitted from a series of events so inspiring that I have dedicated my life to paying them forward on an increasingly grand scale.
In April of 2008, my husband Bryan passed from a sudden heart attack, and by Christmas of that year, my little boys and I were struggling. In December, anonymously, over the course of 12 days, beautiful and extravagant gifts related to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song arrived at our door.
Although many acts of kindness had been bestowed upon us since Bryan’s passing, the quality of these presents, the obvious dedication of the deliverers, and the sheer duration of the giving overwhelmed us to the point where, by the 12th day (drummers drumming,) we were screaming with joy, no longer gripped in the endless darkness that had consumed us.
This feeling of emotional freedom stayed with us and gave us the strength we needed to hope for a better future. We focused on it, rebuilt our lives and then turned our attention to others who needed the same gift. We named our company In12Days. We made it our mission to heal emotional poverty, focusing on children who have lost a parent.
What has In12Days accomplished to date?
We began In12Days by lifting up all the children and staff at St. Jude’s Ranch in 2010. There were 100 there at the time. We gathered 1,000 volunteers to deliver 100 hundred gifts for 12 days in a row. In 2011, we took on the entire city, delivering effects like pouring 50,000 Dove chocolate promises on top of huge inflatable pool turtles (turtle doves,) and sailing 1,000 dollar bills hidden in swans attached to enormous helium balloons to kids organizations.
In 2012, we flew in educational scholarships via helicopters (lords leaping) to students in need that are still in place today. In 2013, we began to focus on the sustainability of our foundation, narrowing our focus to children who lost a parent.
What do you hope/plan for this year?
This year, we are creating a blueprint that we can replicate across the valley and, within a few years, throughout the country. Through a partnership with Clark County School District and private schools here, we have selected 13 recipients and thousands around them, and over the course of the year, we have been rebuilding community for them. Shhh! It is a surprise, so if you know someone involved, keep it a secret for now.
How can people join in?
Come down and have the time of your life with your family and friends as we partner with Cirque du Soleil in presenting “The Twelve Days of Christmas” show at Mandalay Bay Theater (“Michael Jackson One” Theater.)
On this day, all of the recipients will experience the show as part of their grand finale (drummers drumming) and get to meet well wishers from across the valley who are excited to share the magic of Christmas. Performers will include the boys from “Jersey Boys,” Cirque du Soleil, The Phat Pack, Water Beauties, Rock Dancers, Metro Emerald Bagpipers and Molodi.
The event is Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased through our website at In12Days.Com under Events.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.