Candy Cane Lane: A special Christmas tradition for Dawson Brydges ’27

Dawson and his brother Dalton.
Dawson and his brother Dalton.
Credit: Dawson Brydges

Community Peds Care, a pediatric palliative program and hospice program for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, hosts a holiday event for their patients and families called Candy Cane Lane every weekend before christmas. This year, the event lands on the 16th.

 

At this event, cars drive through a designated route called Candy Cane Lane, where children play games and collect goodies and gifts that have been donated to the organization. At the end of the drive, all cars get greeted by Santa Claus and are allowed to take pictures with him. Community Peds Care gave gifts to more than 350 different cars in 2022, offering a variety of gifts ranging from interactive light up toys to stuffed animals. Children receive gifts based on their age, abilities and interests. Since every child is unique, they hand select toys to give to each child so everyone is happy.

 

This event means a lot to the director of PedsCare, Patrice Austin. When Partice was asked about Candy Cane Lane, she said, “It is simply magical; a moment to remember and a time to smile. We will shine on for our pediatric families and join them during this holiday time; joy, love, and celebration means everything to all of us and their appreciation is priceless.”

 

Credit: Dawson Brydges

Dawson Brydges ‘27 is an active member in the Bolles community. He is on the JV Football team and plays the alto-saxophone in the band. Brydges rarely has free time, but when he does, he loves to spend it with his family. This is Brydges’ third year volunteering at Candy Cane Lane, where he helps set up the event by wrapping all the trees with lights. He also gets the privilege to give children gifts and interact with the children and the parents. Brydges’ favorite memory of the event is hanging lights with one of the Peds Care kids and getting to know a lot of amazing children. 

 

There is one kid that attends the event that is particularly special to Brydges: his brother, Dalton. Dalton is 17 years old and has cerebral palsy, along with many other medical conditions.

 

Dawson Brydges loves volunteering at the event. “Volunteering at Candy Cane Lane has become very significant to my holiday traditions. Candy Cane Lane exposes me to life lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom, while simultaneously I get to make my brother special.”

 

Sadly, this organization cannot purchase all 381 gifts by themselves, which is why it relies on donations from people like us. If you would be interested in purchasing a brand new toy for a child, please click on the website here, or visit 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL, 32257 to drop off the present. Information about what to donate is located on the website.

 

If you fear that you may be on Santa’s naughty list this year, you should donate a gift to a child who isn’t as fortunate. Like Buddy the Elf once said, “There’s room for everyone on the nice list.”

About the Contributor
Jack Laufer, Contributing Writer
Jack Laufer is a freshman and first-year staffer. In his free time Jack enjoys playing and assistant coaching baseball, participating in Speech and Debate, and playing guitar. Jack hopes to gain strength in his writing and stay in touch with the news this year. Jack collects all types of sports jerseys and hopes to become a broadcaster in the future.