Christmas in July: Holiday cheer comforts family during father’s last days


IMPERIAL, MO - Christmas came early this year for the Heafner family. Father, Andrew, is battling colon cancer and has decided not to get treated with dialysis.

“Who knows how long I got,” Heafner said. “They say a few days, but I’ve lasted a bit longer than that.”

While choosing to accept whatever comes next, the 65-year-old says he only wanted to celebrate one holiday that’s meant so much to his family over the years.

“Christmas is one my favorite times of the year so decided to have Christmas early.”

In a matter of hours, his daughter and three sons called up their friends to orchestrate the jolliest Christmas Day in the heat of July.

“He wanted to stay around until it’s freezing cold outside, but I didn’t mind spending Christmas in shorts and a t-shirt,” son Thomas Heafner said. “So it’s a win-win.”

With Christmas lights, family love, and sweet treats…for that moment it took Heafner and his family to a day they look forward to every year.

“It meant a lot to him and it’s one of those things that we’ll never forget that,” Thomas said.

But the impromptu holiday cheer missed one thing.

“Didn’t have any eggnog,” the father said laughing.

However, even without the delectable treat the father says his family’s company served as just the moment his spirit needed.

“It was just wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” Andrew Heafner said. “I got the tree just the way, as many ornaments we could put on it. Great.”

And with the snap of a photo, this magical second in time will serve as one of the lasting reminders of Andrew Heafner’s last Christmas celebration.