Luxury Las Vegas

November 2016 :: The Gift of Gratitude

Luxury Las Vegas continues to be Las Vegas’ premier metropolitan magazine offering Extraordinary Living for Extraordinary Lives.

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65 NOVEMBER 2016 | LUXURYLV.COM came that night, it felt like I was stood up on a date. "As I drifted off to sleep at 11:30 p.m., I remembered I didn't lock the car. When I opened the door, I saw a magnificent white swan. Fluffy towels in a wicker basket formed its body, neck, head and beak. Hundreds of sheets of toilet paper were painstakingly stuffed into every crevice, and the swan was filled with bath products. That night I thought about what investing time in others truly meant." Lea and the boys appreciated the "eight maids a-milking" that gave them chocolate milk, soy milk, eggnog, kefir, ice cream and a set of ice cream bowls. The next day at church, Lea didn't cry. Each day brought another surprise, including tickets to Nevada Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker to see "nine ladies dancing" and tickets to a Runnin' Rebels basketball game to see "10 lords a-leaping." "Eleven pipers piping" translated into two musical pipes and a Scottish bagpipes CD. "That was special because Bryan had a set of bagpipes," said Lea. "He was good on piano and guitar, but horrible on the pipes. Every few years I'd drag them out, and we'd amuse each other with the worst impressions of Michael Flatley from Lord of the Dance. Those are some of my favorite memories." On the last day, "12 drummers drumming" led a parade with all the people involved who came to Lea's door singing and bearing gifts. "The empty spaces in our hearts were filled with love," she said. "There was no pity, just a joy I'd never felt before." Wanting to pay that experience forward, Lea started In12Days. Two employees, 50 year-round volunteers, 1,200 Christmas volunteers, business leaders like Cirque du Soleil, Levi Strauss & Co., Barrick Gold Corp., Entertainment Benefits Group, Blue Man Group, Baskin- Robbins, Mars Inc., Henderson Chamber of Commerce, Maverick and Papillon helicopters, Bath & Body Works, Prudential Financial Inc., and Three Square make it possible for In12Days to put a smile on the faces of kids like Justianna, who was in elementary school when she lost her parents and grandmother. In12Days doesn't have the funds to serve all the families nominated each year. "We hope to increase our 2017 budget to $300,000 so we can continue the work we do and hire a creative director in the field and a liaison to families." Lea wrote a children's version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" she wants to adapt into a film, theater production and multimedia game. She believes the people who can make it happen will appear like they did in 2008. She also wants to create a simplified online version of In12Days so people around the world can volunteer or nominate a friend in need." Bryan's death stretches far beyond his life. His legacy touches others with the true spirit of Christmas, something we can give to others all yearlong. For information, go to in12days.com. o "six geese a-laying" gift "nine ladies dancing" gift

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