By Amanda Boston

This past Halloween, eight-year-old, Tristan Wombacher didn’t dress up in the ordinary superhero costume or lug around the pumpkin-colored pail while trick-or-treating. Instead, he donned a Santa suit complete with a red velvety sack, chockfull of candy canes. Denise Graf, a Fishhawk neighbor, said, “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was sitting on the porch watching what was happening and hearing the reaction from the people who were getting gifts from Santa on Halloween.”

This account of a kindhearted third grader, who opted to pass out candy on a holiday, which is known for receiving it, could end here as a heart-warming story. However, it doesn’t. It simply can’t. There is far too much to divulge about this special little boy named, Tristan.

Three years ago, Ken and Jamie Wombacher were vacationing in Anchorage, Alaska with their five-year-old son, Tristan and three other children. Within 24 hours of arriving, Tristan started experiencing terrible headaches, throwing up, and became extremely lethargic. His parents rushed him to the local emergency room, where a CT scan revealed a brain tumor about the size of a large orange situated on his pituitary gland.

Without delay, the Wombacher family returned to Florida; their son’s new diagnosis required extensive surgery followed by 28 days of intense radiation. Due to the location of the tumor, and its intertwining with the optic nerve, only part of the tumor could be extracted.

Today, the benign tumor still resides in Tristan’s brain, except now; it is only the size of a sugar cube. As a result of living with this tumor, Tristan must take growth hormones, maintain a restricted diet, and have frequent blood draws. Additionally, he cannot allow his body to overheat, which can be quite a challenge in the Florida climate.

Despite the daily inconveniences, Tristan is an upbeat little boy with a giving spirit. He loves all things Christmas, but specifically, he enjoys crafting elaborate homemade presents for others. This year, Christmas could not come soon enough for this third grader. As Halloween approached, Tristan told his mother, “I need some candy canes so I can hand them out and make people happy.” Resembling an elf prepping for Christmas Eve, he began creating his Santa costume.

On Halloween night, he strolled the streets as Santa sharing candy canes. The sight of this gesture captivated the hearts of his neighbors while throngs of children trailed behind in support of his undertaking. The adage it is better to give than to receive became apparent to the entire community through the actions of this selfless little Santa.