It all started with one inflatable Christmas decoration last year.
Little Dominic Steinhauser — who has a disorder that impacts his speech, hearing and breathing — had to have a procedure done. Understandably, he didn't want to do it.
His mom, Deanna Steinhauser, made a fateful promise to her son in hopes it would calm him down.
"So he’s always been obsessed with inflatables so I said to him 'If you do really good and don’t cry, I’ll get you an inflatable,'" she explained in an interview with TODAY.
She brought the inflatable to the hospital for him, and after the procedure, he was so excited by it that she posted his reaction to Facebook, saying it was "one of 100" her son would like to have. Little did she know the impact that last line would have on her community.
"The next day, the doorbell rings and there's a blow up, and then the next day and the next day, and then all of a sudden, we've got 100 blow ups," she laughed.
Her little one's excitement had sparked something in their suburban Chicago town of Frankfort.
"Every single time he would receive one, I would videotape it," she said. "People got excited watching him get excited and then they'd send him inflatables."
Steinhauser said some people told her Dominic's reactions were something like their Christmas advent calendar, watching the videos everyday.
She was so overwhelmed with the generosity of her community and wanted to pay it forward.
"That’s when we decided that the best thing to do would be to have a party to show off his blow-ups," she explained.
They asked Santa to come, ordered snacks, and had a block party.
This year, they decided to do the same thing — and included the extra 10-20 odd inflatables sent their way this holiday season, which brought their total to 130! Thursday night, their community came out to see the Christmas display and visit with Santa. From his classmates, to his neighbors and even some of his friends with special needs, the block party was a festive event.
The party brings Dominic so much happiness they're planning on hosting again next year.
"Despite all his challenges, he is the most joyful, happy, typical kid you'll ever meet," his mom said. "Other people in the world could learn a lot from the way he sees things."
Dominic has had to go to the hospital dozens of times, and even a common cold could put him in intensive care, his family said. But he doesn't let that get him down.
Steinhauser said she hopes people can take some of that positivity from their story. Even when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis this fall and had to have a stem cell transplant in October, she was determined to make her son's Christmas wish come true.
"We weren't going to not celebrate the joys just because of the hardships," she said. "There’s so many negative stories in the world that it’s so nice to be reminded of the good people in the world who continue to bless us."