COEUR d’ALENE — One Coeur d'Alene little girl wants to make sure three special families don't have a blue Christmas.
Before then, she'll be lighting up the town.
"It means the universe (to me)," 11-year-old Type 1 diabetes patient Hailie "Halo" Neufeld said Tuesday.
Hailie has inspired a nonprofit, Halo's One Hope, that will illuminate The Coeur d'Alene Resort lawn and clock tower with the color of diabetes awareness — blue — to commence Diabetic Awareness Week in the Lake City during "Light up the Town Blue 2017."
Everyone is invited to join Hailie and her team at 5 p.m. Monday to raise awareness and funds for three local families with children who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, an incurable condition that keeps the pancreas from producing the necessary amount of insulin.
"It's nice to know that there's going to be people that we know, and people we've never met, there Monday night to go downtown, wherever they're from, and they care about diabetes and they want to promote the cause," said Hailie, who was diagnosed in 2014.
Hailie's mom, Lyndsey Neufeld, is the secretary for Halo's One Hope. She said she knows firsthand how difficult it can be when a child is diagnosed because she was a single mom at the time of Hailie's diagnosis.
"It was such a struggle because I missed a week of work when we were in the hospital," she said. "I couldn't go back to work right away."
She said another motivation for starting the nonprofit was the kindness she experienced from Dave Sposito, Ken Hopkins and Molly Allen of KZZU-FM's "Dave, Ken and Molly" show when they came to her work to grant a Christmas wish for her and Hailie when Hailie was first diagnosed.
Raising funds for newly diagnosed families is Team Halo's way of paying that kindness forward.
"This year, I want to do that for people," Neufeld said. "I know what it's like. It's such a weight off your shoulders knowing your kids are covered for Christmas.
"It's hard on the siblings, the parents," she continued. "Everybody is affected."
She said Coeur d'Alene Police and Coeur d'Alene Fire will be on site with their equipment for safety and for kids to enjoy. Hot cocoa, tents and shelters will be provided to combat the cold weather and potential precipitation.
Halo's One Hope is still in need of donations, such as products and services, from local businesses to raffle off at the "Light up the Town Blue 2017" event to raise money for the families. All proceeds will go to the families, which will be chosen soon, and donors will receive charitable donation receipts for their contributions. The goal is $1,000 per family.
For information or to donate, email email@example.com.