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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – Moolah Shriners were busy putting on last minute touches for their annual Christmas party inside of the ballroom at the Moolah Shrine Center on Fee Fee Road, Sunday.

Close to 1,100 people including hospital patients and their families were expected to attend the party, now in its sixth year.

“We are very serious about this party because we are able to get all of these kids together to give them a day that hopefully, they will remember forever,” said Michael Sanders,” a member of the Moolah Shriners Air Patrol Unit.

This year’s party, however, held a special meaning.

Last year the organization lost all of its donated toys and blankets after a warehouse where they were being stored caught fire.

Then last month, Michael John Cordell, the man behind the idea of the event suddenly died.

“I tried to stay in the background,” said his wife, Carla Cordell fighting back tears. “But I just wanted to make sure that this party was seen through because he would want me here and all of his friends and everybody that’s doing this.”

Sunday’s party included several fun activities, various games, plenty of gifts from Santa Claus and lunch.

Organizers said that even in his absence, they want to keep Cordell’s wishes alive by showing patients and their families that they will always have their support.

“The first year we had a party here, there was a young man that had on a T-shirt that said ‘Thank you for my feet’, and it touches your heart,” Mrs. Cordell said, “it warms your heart and those kids need love and support all year round so we hope this kind of sheds that light.”