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WEST JORDAN — Employees and teachers at the Taylor Andrews Academy of Hair Design raise money to give back to a former student and her family.
For the past couple of weeks, each student at Taylor Andrews has paid $3 every Friday to wear jeans to work. They raised hundreds of dollars — enough to help bring Christmas cheer to one of their own.
"We've always had a strict dress code and our students came to us and they said would you allow us to do something where we had a casual day if we gave back to the community," said Larry Curtis, president of the Taylor Andrews Academy.
Kendra Ware attended Taylor Andrews about six years ago.
"She's always helped out she actually did this (Sub for Santa) when she was a student," said Jami Quenum, teacher at the Taylor Andrews Academy.
Six months ago, Ware's baby, Capri, was diagnosed with Ebstein's Anomaly, a condition where her baby was born with a heart the size of an adult's heart.
The doctor's told the Ware's that Capri wouldn't live for more than a few hours.
"We went through all the grieving, we planned her funeral," Kendra said.
But Capri proved everyone wrong, and now she's five and a half months old.
Capri's heart is still 10 times the size it's supposed to be. In order to survive, she will need open-heart surgery.
"Surviving the surgery is going to be difficult. They don't like to do the surgery until they're two years old, and she's going to be 8 months," Kendra said.
For the Wares, every moment and every photo is precious.
"You hear a daughter cry all the time or needs her diaper changed and you never really think that you're excited to do that," said Capri's father, Michael Ware. "Every day's pretty much a blessing."
To raise money to make the trip to Minnesota for the surgery, the Ware family held "A Breakfast with Santa."
"It's going to be a small Christmas this year, but that's okay, we've kind of got our miracle Christmas gift this year," Kendra said.
But for Kendra's "family" at Taylor Andrews, a small Christmas is not enough for the Wares.
"We students and staff rallied together and we made sure each kid has plenty of presents and we have a whole bunch of money here to help with Capri," Quenum told Kendra. "We love you so much."
The Wares were completely surprised and grateful for the help her school family has given their family.
"There's no way that I can describe how thankful we are that all of these people have helped us," Kendra said.
Capri is set to have open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in February. The family is still trying to raise money to take care of medical bills and travel expenses. If you would like to help, the Wares are accepting donations at their website.