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Grandparents want 9-year-old girl to get visit from Globe Santa

Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina (left) and Jim Rooney, president and CEO of Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, stopped to chat Friday with Globe Santa at Faneuil Hall. Said LaMattina: “I received Globe Santa as a kid, and that’s why I’m out here today.”Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

The scourge of opioid addiction has been well documented. The disease casts a long shadow, splintering families and shattering relationships as it systematically destroys the person struggling with addiction. In most cases, parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends suffer along with that person as they try, too often in vain, to steer them toward recovery.

A grandmother from a community northwest of Boston knows well the hurt that addiction brings to a family’s sense of well-being. Her daughter is a heroin addict who is incapable of taking care of her child, a 9-year-old girl. “I have had my granddaughter since very early in her life,” the grandmother wrote to Globe Santa. “Her mother has attempted to get ‘clean’ many times.”

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The grandmother fears for her daughter’s safety and is also conflicted over how much to tell her granddaughter about the situation: She doesn’t want to lead her to believe that her mother will recover, yet she doesn’t want the girl to give up hope. “I try to be as honest as I can with her without completely destroying all hopes of ever seeing her again,” she wrote.

Still, the outlook at the moment is grim. On a recent day, the grandmother went looking for her daughter, traveling up and down streets that are home to drug dealers and their customers. She didn’t find her, but a few days later the daughter called and the two of them met for the first time in quite a while.

“What I saw was a totally different person — not recognizable — so thin her bones protruded through her skin,” the mother wrote. “I realized then that my granddaughter would probably not see her mother alive again.”

She and her husband reached out to Globe Santa for the same reason so many thousands of families do: They want their children and grandchildren to be happy at Christmas. “There is no one left but me and my husband to give her a happy Christmas. Please make my granddaughter’s a little more special,” the woman’s letter concluded. “I love her to no end!”

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This 9-year-old girl will receive gifts on that special morning, joining tens of thousands of other children whose homes Globe Santa, a program of The Boston Globe Foundation, will visit. Please consider donating today; your contribution will help brighten a child’s big day.

12th Walter’s Run

The Walter’s Run 5K, proceeds from which have been a fixture on the Globe Santa’s contributor list over the last 12 years ($5,200 in 2014), kicks off Sunday morning at 11 at the YMCA on Bellevue Street in West Roxbury, following the Kids’ Run at 10:15. The event honors Walter Burgess, a celebrated runner and triathlon athlete with the Parkway Running Club, who died in 2003.