‘Back in the spirit’: AdventHealth surprises local families in need of holiday cheer

ORLANDO, Fla. — 15-year-old Serenity Alexander says she wasn’t looking forward to Christmas this year since her mother Nikki passed away in June.

That is until some sneaky elves secretly transformed the Orlando home where she now lives with her aunt and uncle.

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“I was like, Oh my God, that’s crazy!”

Countdown to Christmas: Serenity

’Tis the season to share the light. Serenity’s mom tragically passed away in 2020; but, through it all, Serenity has brought the light to her family, friends and cheerleading squad, and we’re honored to help shine the light back on her. She and her family received our second gift of holiday lights in our Countdown to Christmas. We’re making spirits bright by stringing lights on the homes of seven people in our communities who deserve a little cheer this year. Stay tuned for the remaining five families.

Posted by Life at AdventHealth Central Florida on Friday, December 18, 2020

Serenity says since her mother died, she often finds herself watching a single video of the two of them hugging.

“I miss her hugs,” Serenity says. “I just remember that she’s not in pain anymore, and she’s not suffering.”

Serenity’s family and friends knew this holiday season would be painful for her, so her cheerleading coach nominated her for AdventHealth’s “Countdown to Christmas” campaign.

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AdventHealth Executive Director Nicole Crocker says it’s a way for them to extend the care they offer beyond the hospital.

“Taking care of someone within the walls of the hospital is one thing,” Crocker says. “Taking care of them outside of the walls of the hospital and extending that love and support to our community is also very important to us.”

Serenity’s family is one of seven in Central Florida chosen for the surprise holiday light display, each with their own story of why they might have needed it this Christmas.

Countdown to Christmas: Jason and family

’Tis the season to share the light. After losing his wife, Jason was anonymously nominated by a neighbor as someone needing a little Christmas cheer. He and his deserving family received the first set of holiday lights and decorations in our Countdown to Christmas. We’re making spirits bright by stringing lights on the homes of seven people in our communities who deserve a little cheer this year. Stay tuned for the remaining six families.

Posted by Life at AdventHealth Central Florida on Thursday, December 17, 2020

“It just made me get back in the Christmas spirit,” Serenity says. “It feels good to know that you’re cared for and people actually understand your story.”

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And she understands, the Christmas lights are more than just decorations. She says they’re more like a memorial to her mother.

“Like a way to think of her...When you pull into the driveway. This is for Nikki.”