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Woman who fled bad relationship hopes daughter can enjoy Christmas

Santa listened to Cartrail Franklin, 4, of Boston, during a fund-raising event on Wednesday in Downtown Crossing.

Cecille Joan Avila for The Boston Globe

Santa listened to Cartrail Franklin, 4, of Boston, during a fund-raising event on Wednesday in Downtown Crossing.

Leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship can be one of the most frightening decisions a parent is forced to make.

But it can also mark the beginning of new life and provide innocent children with the love and support they deserve rather than a daily dose of fear, confusion, and heartbreak.

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Such was the case for a Boston woman who, after years of feeling trapped in a relationship but afraid to leave, summoned the courage to make a change.

“The abrupt nature of things was necessary, but it resulted in the loss of everything,” the woman wrote to Globe Santa. “Although this is a hard time, I cannot state enough, it was the right decision.”

Santa and journalist Emily Rooney greeted passersby in Downtown Crossing.

Cecille Joan Avila for The Boston Globe

Santa and journalist Emily Rooney greeted passersby in Downtown Crossing.

The woman and her 10-year-old daughter have spent most of the last year living in a motel room as part of the state’s family shelter system. It’s been extremely unsettling for her daughter to be separated from her friends and forced to commute a long distance to school, her mother wrote, but they are persevering.

“In time, I hope we can take a deep breath and relax, if only for a moment,” she wrote.

Asking for help is something she hadn’t imagined needing to do, her letter continued. And while she was not naïve to the fact that many families in her own neighborhood were struggling to stave off eviction or keep their cupboards and refrigerators stocked with food, her own experience has opened her eyes further.

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“Those in need do not always fit the stereotype that many people think of,” she wrote.

Like any parent, this single mother wants her daughter to share in the joy of Christmas, but given her inability to find a steady job and their lack of family support, she knew that without help, they’d have to be content this year with counting their blessings.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino showed his cane to Isabella Cuevas, 3, of Boston.

Cecille Joan Avila for The Boston Globe

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino showed his cane to Isabella Cuevas, 3, of Boston.

“I can’t imagine all the lives you’ve touched,” she wrote. “But I can tell you that there are times when even the smallest act of kindness or generosity can make all the difference in the world.”

This woman’s daughter will be among tens of thousands of children who receive presents from Globe Santa this season.

For nearly 60 years, the campaign has delivered toys, books, and other gifts to families throughout Eastern Massachusetts that celebrate Christmas in the Santa Claus tradition. Last year alone, $1.3 million was raised and some 49,000 children in 28,000 families received a visit from Globe Santa, helping to transform a tough day into a festive occasion.

The Boston Globe Foundation pays all of the administrative costs associated with the fund drive, so all the money donated to Globe Santa is used to buy and deliver presents to children.

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