WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) -- The faces of children as Santa passes by are magical, and it's something Elissa Gaus wants every child to experience, even the ones who are too sick to sit near the sidewalk.
It's why she's helping organize a free watch party for families of critically ill children to watch the ABC11/LeithCars.com Raleigh Christmas Parade presented by Shop Local Raleigh.
"Not only to see the children's faces light up but the parents too because they're able to experience something normal," Gaus said.
Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App
The watch party for kids with compromised immune systems is going to happen at the Sheraton on Fayetteville Street.
Families who want to join are encouraged be there by 9 a.m.
Check out the Facebook event page for the watch party.
"It's very difficult to get through each day but especially the holidays," Gaus said.
For her, the party is personal. Her son Micah died of spine and brain cancer two years ago at just 10-years-old, so she works to keep his memory alive every day.
"He had very much so an adult sense of humor, and call it his 'sense of tumor,'" Elissa said laughing.
Laughter - it's why the Excelsior League, a group of local superheroes, will also be there to bring smiles.
"Just helping bring joy and like mental happiness, because these kids are going through these terminal illnesses, battles, or disabilities and they need that," said Rick Schafferman, Excelsior League's founder.
Schafferman and Gaus hope the children can enjoy the happiness of holidays, while they still can.
"Keep the magic of the season going as much as you possibly can because it's worth it," Gaus said.
ABC11 has decided to slowly reduce the number of stories on the website that have a comments section. We believe very strongly that our audience should have an opportunity to discuss and debate events in our world, however, we have not been able to moderate the comments as well as we would like. Instead of hosting a platform that could allow a few loud and ugly voices to dominate a conversation, we want to encourage everyone to join us on our social media platforms and speak out there. Facebook: facebook.com/ABC11 Twitter: twitter.com/ABC11_WTVD
Raleigh mom organizes free Raleigh Christmas Parade watch party for critically ill children