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Globe Santa

A ‘small gift’ for son’s memorial

Disc jockey and former Globe Santa recipient Hollywood Zay with Santa during an event outside the Loews Boston Hotel Friday.

CECILLE JOAN AVILA FOR THE GLOBE

Disc jockey and former Globe Santa recipient Hollywood Zay with Santa during an event outside the Loews Boston Hotel Friday.

It is an experience no parent ever wants to endure. The anxious wait in a physician’s office; the search for a reassuring smile or nod when the doctor reenters. Then the news: Your child is very sick.

“I am requesting your help this holiday season because I have been unemployed for the last year being a caregiver to my 5-year old son,” a mother from a city northwest of Boston wrote to Globe Santa. “My son was diagnosed with cancer on April 7, 2012.”

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A single mother who also has a young daughter to care for, her life changed in that instant.

What she previously thought were problems now seemed like little more than petty inconveniences, for the hurdles facing her son were truly steep.

She left her job and shuttling her son to the hospital for round after round of treatment and tests almost immediately became her new routine.

Without someone to stay at home and care for her then 1-year old daughter, the little girl often had to make the trip as well.

Sadly, the young mother now has another unwelcome date instilled in her memory.

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“After a long, hard year and a courageous battle, my son passed away on May 23, 2013,” she said in her letter. “I am now trying to get back to work.”

Caring for her daughter helps to ease the sometimes overwhelming sadness she has battled since last spring, but nothing can fill the hole completely.

She has also tried to help the little girl understand that her brother is no longer suffering and is in a better place.

Without having worked in 18 months and faced with significant debt, this grieving mother asked Globe Santa to deliver a few presents for her daughter.

She also included a special request for her son.

“I have a 2-year-old daughter, and I want to attempt to have a great Christmas with her, although it will be our first one without my son,” her letter concluded. “And although my son has passed, I have a memorial set up for him at home and would appreciate if we could still get one small gift to put in his memorial. Thank you for all your help.”

This family will join thousands of others in receiving a visit from Globe Santa this year, and there will indeed be a gift included to honor her son’s memory.

Since 1956, when Globe Santa visited 6,200 households in Greater Boston, the campaign has delivered toys, books, and stocking stuffers to needy families in Eastern Massachusetts.

Last year alone, some $1.3 million was raised and more than 49,000 children in 28,000 families celebrated a merrier Christmas.

But the annual fund drive is only made possible through the generosity of individuals, groups, and local businesses that donate, many of whom make giving to Globe Santa a part of their holiday tradition.

The Boston Globe Foundation pays all of the administrative costs, so 100 percent of the money donated to Globe Santa is used to buy and deliver presents to children.

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