Of the thousands of letters for assistance pouring into Globe Santa’s mailbox this Christmas season, many are from families with a loved one fighting a life-threatening illness.
And as hard as it can be to lose a job or suffer through months of tight finances due to a down economy, having a family member battling cancer puts all those troubles in perspective. One letter tells of a couple and their 7-year-old son, who have been faced with such problems over the past two years.
The boy’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the company she and her husband had been with for almost a decade went out of business. Her husband was fortunate to find work, she wrote in her letter to Globe Santa, but had to accept a nearly 50 percent cut in pay.
The letter goes on to say that the mother needed immediate surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Her son often had to accompany her because they lacked the money for child care. To say the least, the little boy saw his mother very sick and in lots of pain.
Then, just months after completing her treatment for breast cancer, the letter says, doctors found cancerous tumors inside her mouth, which meant more intense radiation and chemotherapy.
Somehow, she wrote, her son has soldiered through with a smile on his face. “The shocking thing is not once did our son complain,” she wrote. “He knew I wasn’t feeling well and he was always asking if he could get me something to drink or if I wanted to play with one of his toys.’’
The family moved into public housing last year and the boy’s mother said they are grateful to have qualified for the assistance, but with her husband’s reduced income and her illness, money is still very tight. The holiday season is especially tough because both parents want to reward their brave little boy.
“Most times my husband and I don’t even exchange gifts so we can give everything to our son,” she said as her letter concluded. “We just wish we could do more for him.”
For more than half a century, the Globe Santa has delivered gifts to thousands of families throughout Eastern Massachusetts, and this 7-year-old from west of Boston will be among this year’s recipients.
But the deliveries would not be possible without the generosity of individuals and groups that contribute each year to the Santa fund drive and ensure that every family qualified is included. The Boston Globe pays all of the administrative costs associated with campaign, so all the money pledged is used to buy and deliver toys, books. and other gifts.