Dear KDWB Christmas Wish,
I am writing to you in honor of my amazing cousins, Mike and Missy Rogers, and their three beautiful girls, Madi (age 14) and twins Hailee and Hayden (age 9). On December 11th, 2016, their oldest daughter, Dani, who was 18 years old, was tragically killed in a train accident. Dani was a tremendously kind, unique, old soul with a quick wit and incredible intelligence. She was a freshman at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Paleontology, and was the first in her household to go to college. She dreamed of living in London and loved tea - Earl Gray was her favorite. Dani’s death has left the family in pieces.
As if coping with loss of their daughter wasn’t enough, Mike’s mom died a few months later, and both of them lost their modest jobs. This past year has been filled with unbelievable lows as the family acclimates to this new path they have been forced to travel. What amazes me most about the Rogers family is that even in their darkest time, they have always put others’ needs before their own. Before Dani’s accident, Missy started a Facebook group called “In Their Time Of Need,” where she collected food, toiletries, and gently used coats and clothing from people in the community. Missy and the girls would load up their minivan, and hand-deliver donations to homeless people they saw on the street. Giving to others is a trait that Mike and Missy instilled in each of their daughters, and this desire has remained foremost in their lives, even after Dani’s accident.
When Dani passed away, even with finances being tight, Mike and Missy took the money that Dani had saved in her bank account, and started an annual scholarship at Champlin Park High School, of which Dani was a recent graduate. And the acts of kindness don’t stop there. In order to keep their daughter’s generous, ethereal soul alive, Mike and Missy started the Facebook group, “#ForDani.” Through this public forum, Mike and Missy ask others to perform random acts of kindness for complete strangers, and handout business cards with Dani’s picture to inspire others keep the kindness going. The Rogers have taken this task to a new level by slowly saving money and mailing gift cards to coffee shops around the country with a personalized letter sharing Dani’s story. Their goal is to send a letter and gift card to one coffee shop in all 50 states.
Through it all, Mike and Missy have never asked for anything. They continue to collect donations and help others in the community, and even participated in “Adopt a Family” to honor the 1-year anniversary of Dani’s passing. The Rogers live in Missy’s childhood home, with original carpets from 1987, couches that are falling apart, and an old toilet that is always clogging. Ironically, while Missy collects coats for those in need, she herself is usually wearing the same coat she had from high school.
Most would never know all of the hardships that the Rogers have gone through over the years, and I know that no matter what, they will continue to live their lives for others in order to keep Dani’s spirit alive. For those of you listening today, please take a moment to do a small act of kindness in honor of Dani.
When we heard the Rodgers Family's story, we knew we had to grant this Christmas Wish for them.
For the Kirsch family we gave a $800 Coborns Delivers Gift Card, $101 SuperAmerica Gift Cards, $300 SMAAASH gift card, $75 Wild Bill’s gift card, $100 Masu Sushi & Robata gift card, $100 Minnesota Zoo gift card, 50 rounds of mini golf courtesy of Glow in One Mini Golf, 5 Red Savoy's Pizza! For the family we also got then a new Polaroid 4K 43” LED TV, an iPad 5th Generation, games like Jenga Pass, Catch Phrase & Game of Life, and a brand new Bissel carpet cleaner.
For the daughters, Hayden, Hailee, Madi, Xbox One courtesy of Pepsi! Games like Cars 3 and Minecraft. They also received art and craft supplies. For Dad, Mike, Fitbit Ionic, Coleman 9 person tent, Contigo travel mug and fuzzy blanket. For Mom, Missy, Wedding Day Diamonds Charm Necklace engraved with “#4Dani”! Keurig classic series K50, a variety of k cups, Contigo travel mug and fuzzy blanket,
For 14-year-old Madi, Wedding Day Diamonds Charm Necklace, sled, Fujifilm instax mini with film, robe, watch + jewelry set and a wooden jewelry box. 9-year-old Hailee is also getting a Wedding Day Diamonds Charm Necklace, Crayola spin art maker, Betty Crocker baking sets and baking supplies. Xbox One wireless controller, sled and wooden jewelry box. And finally, 9-year-old Hayden received a Wedding Day Diamonds Charm Necklace, Disneyland Adventures Xbox One game, sled, Gingerbread train kit, Crayola group coloring set, Xbox One wireless controller and a wooden jewelry box.
Finally, Treasure Island heard about Dani and the Rodgers family and would like to donate $2,000 towards her Champlin Park Scholarship Fund. Thank you Treasure Island!
We couldn't do KDWB's Christmas Wish without your donations. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation. Special thanks to Venture Bank. Plus, part of the donations will automatically go to YouthLink to help homeless youth in the Twin Cities.
LISTEN: Dave Ryan calls to surprise the Rodgers Family with a KDWB Christmas Wish