AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The non-profit Casey's Circle had its 6th annual Christmas party at Dell Children's Hospital complete with gifts, music and some very special visitors
A purple, glittery Christmas tree is something Marty Barnes' daughter Casey would have absolutely loved.
"Casey was 100% girl. Everything in our house was pink and purple or covered in glitter," Barnes said. \
Casey, who was diagnosed with a condition called "HIE," passed in 2016...but her non-profit goes on.
Casey's Circle is designed to help families with medically-complex children...allowing kids to be kids first, patients later.
"We do events, we provide tools, and we're here to help parents make memories," Barnes said.
Saturday morning at Dell Children's Hospital, Casey's Circle held their big Christmas party. Actually it's 2 parties.
"We have our early party which is for our medically complex. We keep that one a bit smaller because they seem to get overwhelmed and the bigger parties and they have a lot of equipment," Barnes said.
And the later one is for all special needs families. Some guests of honor...Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat. And of course...the "man in the red hat."
Lee and Heather Ballard were there with their son Jackson.
"There's so many opportunities that Jack doesn't get to participate in because they're not adapted for children with special needs so this is really special for him," Heather said.
"And also just getting to spend time with our children who are struggling with the same things and for us as parents to be with other parents who are maybe in this world of special needs is really encouraging."
Barnes says she "lives for this."
"After we lost our daughter in 2016, the holidays have been really hard for us and all the typical holiday stuff that people do, going with families and looking at Christmas lights and putting up trees, I can't seem to bring myself to do that without her," Barnes said.
But being able to help Casey's friends and others like her enjoy the holidays...
"This is my Christmas. This is what I look forward to and this is how me and my husband celebrate Christmas now," she said.