Good morning sweet friends and Happy Monday! I would love to do something different this holiday season and I need your help. Brian and I have been talking a lot about different ways we can be more charitable, especially this month. It amazes me everyday that we have such a strong community in Pure Joy Home and there is nothing more I would love than to come together, right now, before Christmas, and help families that are in need. The holidays are so full of joy, but can be difficult for so many bringing hardships to light. We know there is so much more we can do throughout the year, and it is one of our top priorities as we move into 2020, and I hope we can kick things off with a successful community effort on our holiday giving project, Delivering JOY!
On Friday, I asked for your help in nominating families you know that are in need this Christmas and the response was overwhelming. We would like to highlight the stories below and ask that you help us in fulfilling their Christmas wishlists in the hopes of Delivering JOY to them this season. Working with our community on creating these lists along with the families has brought more joy to my heart than you can imagine. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being here.
The Michaud Family
Thank you for considering this family. They are the Michaud Family from Massachusetts, Derek (father), Sarahjean (mama), Harper, 8, and Arlen, 6. Derek, (43) was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. ALS is a disease of the motor neurons. It is a progressive, neurological disease that leads to muscle weakness, atrophy and aggressive changes throughout the body, including the ability to breathe. ALS is a terminal disease. Most people live 3 to 5 years after first experiencing symptoms.
Derek and his family are truly inspiring. They have all come together and decided that ALS would not take their Joy away. Derek and his wife Sarahjean are fully committed to their two children and every day they look this debilitating disease straight in the eye. They are also committed to pulling this disease into the lime light and allowing these tragic circumstances to be a voice of strength.
It has been a challenging year for the family. He is trying to keep his spirits up but it is challenging. He can no longer use his voice, hands or body without help. He has equipment to help him breathe. He tries to focus on how grateful he is because he has his family with him at home. Most families go bankrupt paying for the enormous bills associated with caring for a family member with ALS. Derek has a caregiver with him part-time but requires full-time care to get him through his daily routine. Sarahjean continues working to pay their bills and to show their kids that they can’t give up… No matter what life throws your way!
Currently the Michaud’s monthly out of pocket expenses for his needs are approximately $8000-$10,000 and climbing as his needs increase. For this reason, funding for his care is their top priority this year in lieu of gifts. Please consider making a donation to their Go Fund Me page.
Melodie and her husband Kostas reside in New Jersey and have three children, a 3 year old girl,17 month old twin boys, and a fourth baby due in March. After fainting on a family trip to visit Kostas’ family in Greece this past August, and immediately flying home and visiting doctors back in New Jersey, Kostas was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a tumor in his brain. He is 42 years old. He has undergone a craniotomy, chemotherapy and radiation, and multiple surgeries thereafter.
Sadly, the Neurooncologist confirmed that the cancer has spread to his spinal fluid. It’s deposited in his spine and around his brain. He cannot speak much, he cannot walk on his own, and his appetite is decreasing.
Melodie and Kostas are doing everything they can at this point to fight this cancer. With three children and one on the way, they have their hands full and could use help this holiday season.
A friend created this Christmas wishlist for their children, and has asked that if possible, we send these items wrapped as presents (sometimes Amazon gives you that option). There is little time at home and this would be a huge help. Thank you for helping me in delivering Christmas to the Sideris family. **update, for gift cards registered on Amazon, please enter the email address firstname.lastname@example.org**
“We have taken all of this in stride because of the knowing that we still have the most important things in life—our family. Although we lost essentially the two businesses being the coffee house and the coffee roastery along with our home and much of its contents, we emerged from the storm with our children and pets all accounted for, safe and happy.”
“I have a family in my neighborhood I would like to nominate. They are a Polynesian family with 6 kids (ages 5 months, 2 years, 3 years, 8 years, 9 years, and 12 years) all living in a 2 bedroom apartment. Their apartment complex is well known to have drug activity and violence. These cute kids attend school with mine and are always smiling and so sweet. The dad is in and out of the picture. Right now he is gone, leaving the mom to care for the children and their needs alone. The mom works part time at a daycare and sells homemade egg rolls for money for rent and gas. She spent 6 months of her last pregnancy on bed rest due to complications, which was difficult on the entire family. The oldest has had to take on a lot of responsibility but is a great student and brother. He received student of the week for the entire county in May. He and his younger brothers go around the neighborhood asking to do yard work and chores to help their family.
Yesterday, the sweet mom collapsed and lost consciousness. With all 6 kids in tow, she was hospitalized and found she had liver failure. We are waiting on her results. Last Christmas, we organized a big secret Santa for their family and made sure their needs were met. This year, we could really use help”
Please see the Amazon wishlist we have put together for the Vinnea-Wainnis family:
I would like to nominate my friend, Rachel Gackle. She lost her husband to a horrific ATV accident just before Thanksgiving on November 12. A week later she lost her grandfather to cancer. I honestly cannot imagine what she must be going through, particularly with the holiday right around the corner where it seems to just emphasize “family time”. On top of that she has 3 adorable children- twin boys who are 5 years old and a little girl who is 3. Scott was a wonderful father who always took the boys fishing, hunting, he built them their beds and swing set and just loved being with his family. Rachel and Vada were the apples of his eye. There wasn’t a day that went by he didn’t tell Rachel, “You are so pretty”.
He is so greatly missed by everyone who knew him, because to know him was to love him. They are located in a small town in South Dakota called Canton. Rachel is devastated and taking care of Christmas for her children would mean more to her than anything right now. Thank you for the consideration.