Giving spirit: Fundraiser open for Craig’s Mrs. Claus amid cancer battle | CraigDailyPress.com
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Giving spirit: Fundraiser open for Craig’s Mrs. Claus amid cancer battle

George and Ann Kidder portray Santa and Mrs. Claus during Letters to Santa in 2014.
File Photo

After bringing bundles of holiday magic to Northwest Colorado, the family of a longtime fixture in the area is hoping community members will be able to return the favor.

An online fundraiser is underway for Ann Kidder, better known to Moffat County as one half of the Christmastime couple Santa and Mrs. Claus, which she portrayed with husband George in recent years before relocating to Florida.

Santa and Mrs. Claus made their annual debut at the Parade of Lights in 2014.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

While living in the area, Santa and Mrs. Claus made appearances at virtually every major holiday function, ranging from small private parties to the Holiday Drive to the Parade of Lights.

The couple was also honored — out of costume — in early 2019 with the Bill and Nancy Muldoon Humanitarian of the Year Award, provided by Rotary Club of Craig for their hours of generosity.

George and Ann Kidder accept the Bill and Nancy Muldoon Humanitarian of the Year Award provided by Rotary Club of Craig during Diamonds & Spurs.
Andy Bockelman/staff

The pair were back in Craig this past yuletide in character to visit with people of all ages. However, in December, Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer, daughter Rhonda Martinez said.

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Rhonda, who lives in Lay, said that despite the grim news, the Kidders didn’t want to let down the array of people who were expecting them.

“They still traveled because they didn’t want to disappoint the kids or the seniors or all the other people,” she said. “It just took them a couple extra days.”

The beginning of 2020 was also tough, as Ann underwent a mastectomy procedure and removal of lymph nodes, and family members were devastated to learn cancer had progressed to her spine, diagnosed at Stage IV.

Because of the extent of the disease, doctors did not recommend radiation or chemotherapy. Rhonda said that prescription medication has proven to help her mother, though it has been extremely costly.

“It’s $15,000 every four weeks,” she said. “My son, who’s a Marine, even said he’d take out a loan for them, but I said, ‘no, you’re a young man, don’t do that.’ But he’s been willing to go that far.”

The family has a donation page available on Facebook dubbed the “Mrs. Claus Cancer Fight” with a goal of $45,000, which they hope will ease the financial stress experienced by the Kidders.

“They’ve done a lot for this town, and it’s a small community, but I hope people can help,” Rhonda said.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/donate/205473630548007/ or call Rhonda Martinez at 970-756-1253.


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