GASTON, SC (WIS) - A retired Santa Claus has made his list. But he doesn't need to check it twice because this gift is for himself.
If you ever went to the Dutch Square Mall in Columbia during Christmas time in the late '90's, you likely recognize Danny Holland.
In 1997, Danny says he was voted "Best Mall Santa" by the State Newspaper.
But now, with the glory days behind him, he resides at Rapha Residential Care in Gaston. And instead of sitting in his chair and taking kids Christmas wishes, he sits in a different chair – a wheelchair. He's also taken up a new way of spreading cheer year-round, one seedling at a time.
"I spend from morning till dusk out here," Holland said.
But this retired Santa has one Christmas Eve wish this year. And he's got both his front teeth. What he needs are two working feet.
"I was scared to death," Holland said. "I didn't know if I was gonna come out of surgery or not."
A doctor amputated Danny's leg last year after he developed MRSA virus. Because he's diabetic, Holland couldn't feel the sore on his leg.
"Everything that you have to do every day I had to relearn," Holland said.
Standing on two feet, Holland would be 6 feet and 7 inches tall. But, reduced to a wheelchair, getting around and gardening is a lot more difficult.
Even so - he loves it just the same.
"It eases my mind and my stress," Holland said.
He wants more than anything to get back on his feet. But the cost is steep. Before insurance, a prosthetic leg can cost as much as $30,000.
And money doesn't grow on Danny's trees.
"I'm hoping with the prosthetic leg I'll be able to walk more," Holland said. "At least I'll be able to stand up and use a shovel. I won't have to worry about if I'm gonna get stuck in the sand again."
Simple desires…ones that cost thousands of dollars. That's why his friends stepped in to help – creating his GoFundMe page to help raise money to cover the cost of the prosthetic leg.
They say when they write a letter to Santa this year, they know exactly what they're asking for.
"It's gonna mean everything to me to get out of this wheelchair."