Raising any child has challenges, but when a child is born with significant disabilities and requires constant care, those challenges are often more complicated than most mothers and fathers could ever have imagined.
Regular trips to the park or the playground are replaced by visits to the doctor, specialist, surgeon, or therapist, and every family member pays an emotional price.
For the parents in these families, however, one of their dreams remains unchanged — they want their children to know the joy of Christmas.
“My youngest daughter has restrictive lung disease, scoliosis, and epilepsy,” a mother from west of Boston wrote in a letter to Globe Santa. “She has only one kidney and is paralyzed from the waist down.”
The young girl’s health had been relatively stable of late and her parents where hopeful that they may not need to even write the letter that recently arrived in Globe Santa’s mailbox.
But then they learned she would need yet another procedure on her spine. She underwent surgery a few weeks ago and is scheduled for another operation at the end of the month.
“During this time, we were unable to bring in any money and in fact we had to spend quite a bit to travel back and forth to Boston,” the mother wrote. “And just as the stress of that surgery was getting better we found out she has to go back in for another.”
The mother had to give up her career after her daughter, who is now 6, was born in order to provide the full-time care the girl requires, and she and her husband have barely made ends meet ever since. They also have a 12-year-old daughter who has struggled to make sense of why her sister faces such hardship.
“My oldest daughter is amazing. Her little sister is her whole life and she has been so stressed out and scared for her,” her mother wrote.
The couple contacted Globe Santa for the same reason thousands of other families do each year. They don’t want to see their children, who are already battling through difficult circumstances, miss out on the excitement of finding presents from Santa Claus on Christmas morning. And without help, it seemed nearly certain that would be the case.
“We wanted to make this Christmas special. Sadly, we are unable to provide that for them,” her letter concluded. “We would appreciate any help we could get but I understand if it is too late. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Merry Christmas and God bless!”
These girls will join tens of thousands of other children in finding toys from Globe Santa under their tree this Christmas morning. Last year, 49,147 children in 28,058 families across Eastern Massachusetts received gifts from Globe Santa.
Globe Santa uses every dollar donated to buy toys for children; the Boston Globe Foundation pays the administrative costs associated with the campaign. Donations can be made in person by stopping by Globe Santa’s sleigh, online, or by mail.