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Published by University of Tampa

Raymond Mohler ’20 shares his birthday with Christmas Eve. And in a tradition that started when he was a young kid, he also shares his toys.

Mohler is the founder of the Little Saint Nick Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to help children cope with pain, fear and isolation who are sick in the hospital.

“I’ve gone to hospitals where there were only two kids who could be seen, and I had to wear the full mask and gown, but then there’s other hospitals where there’s 60 kids who come down to the play room, and it’ll be fun,” Mohler said of the hospital events he’ll host. “It’s heartbreaking, and it gives you perspective. That’s the biggest thing, since I was little. It’s an emotionally draining thing when you go, but it gives you perspective.”

When he was 4, Mohler had a hip joint disease that caused him to spend eight hours in the hospital. He had to wear a brace on his legs at night for two years, and couldn’t play sports as he wasn’t able to run or jump. But he felt fortunate it was relatively short-term. He donated his birthday gifts that first year to the kids he left behind in the hospital, and it’s been a tradition ever since.

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