Grandpa helps pay granddaughter's medical bills through Santa

12:47 PM, Dec 16, 2012   |    comments
Dressed as Santa, Charles Pittman greets his granddaughter Claire.
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A grandfather is working as Santa's helper again this year but this time it's to help his granddaughter.

Charles Pittman spent seven holidays as Mississippi's Official Governor's Mansion Santa Claus.

Although he retired from the mansion, money he raises this Christmas as Santa's helper will benefit his 3-year-old granddaughter, Claire Cox.

"Her [Claire] being happy helps Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and our family be happy," Pittman said.

Claire's mother, Michelle Cox, said a stroke before birth caused problems to the right side of Claire's body.

"All the things she's been through are just normal to her," Michelle said.

Claire needs extensive therapy to walk, talk, and move her right arm and hand.

Doctors thought she would never walk but after umbilical cord stem cell treatments in Mexico, Michelle said Claire was walking within two weeks. She's had three stem cell injections, each one $18,000.

Once a year Claire spends a month at the University of Alabama for treatment; that costs $15,000 per visit. Insurance does not cover those medical expenses.

Michelle said Claire had more than $86,000 in medical expenses last year.

"It's hard, it's hard but I'll do anything in the world to get her to therapy," Michelle said.

Pittman has raised approximately $1,500 in donations so far and hopes to raise more within the next week.

He went on to say, "Grandchildren are people's gift from God... to live long enough to have grandchildren. That's what she means to me."

If you would like a visit from Santa, contact Pittman at 865-585-8152 or charlespittman@centurylink.net.

You can also visit www.sendclaire.com.

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