(FOX 9) - One of Santa’s helpers in the Twin Cities is hoping for a Christmas miracle in June.
Known simply as Santa Steve, Steve Van Hale has his own wish: a new kidney.
"I have zero kidney function," Steve tells us. "I am in need of a kidney transplant, obviously."
A retired correctional officer working with troubled youth in Ramsey County, Steve has gone all in on his Santa persona, appearing at countless parties and events over the years as jolly Saint Nick. But, with complete kidney failure, there hasn’t been much joy over the last 18 months.
“Even last year, I had to cut back pretty significantly on my Santa business and the visits because I didn’t have the energy I had before," Steve says. "And being Santa takes a lot of energy. You are always on."
In his current condition, Santa Steve is going to dialysis three times a week for three and a half hour sessions. It’s actually what keeps him alive, but if he doesn’t get a new kidney, who knows how many more Christmases he has left?
"I also did a lot of research on the internet about getting the information out there," explains Penny, Steve's wife. "I knew I had to do something with the Santa thing."
Penny created car decals to help spread the word in the Van Hales' quest to find a kidney donor, specifically with a blood type of “O.” She’s also using social media, figuring, who doesn’t want to help an ailing Santa?
“I said, 'We got to get somebody’s attention here,'" Penny recalled. "And I said, 'Santa gets everybody’s attention everywhere we go.' I said, 'this is our best option... to use the Santa persona.'”
Steve, who is now 61, is on a couple of donor lists, but, so far, no matches. The Van Hales are desperate.
"Even though you may not match up with me, please think about doing it," pleads Steve. "A lot of other people are in the same situation. Please help out your fellow man. Do this and, plus, you’ll be on Santa’s nice list."
If you can help, you can call (651)342-0784.