Sometimes the mercurial life we prepare ourselves to deal with tosses an unexpected curveball that causes us to stumble or face an immense challenge. For Kathryn, it was finding out in February of this year that she had stage-four cervical cancer. Upon discovering the news, the 39-year-old mother of four children, felt her world spiraling out of control.
“It was really upsetting. I lost about 30 pounds. I was pretty close to death. I can’t even explain, because my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the past and now it’s terminal,” she said.
What proceeded was an arduous fight against the odds. She was hospitalized almost daily for a multitude of medical problems and found herself frequently pondering the possibility of dying.
Faced with the grim reality of the situation, Kathryn struggled to hold on and although she came close to death, she credits her children for keeping her strong.
“I have very supportive children. I got to one point where I wanted to give up but I didn’t for my kids.”
Thankfully, after receiving treatment for months and battling, she was elated to find out that the cancer had finally gone into remission. What has resulted from all of this, however, is a severe financial strain on her family.
Kathryn is currently receiving $600 a month for disability, and her boyfriend works as a painter but has found work at this time of year to be sparse. Paying for heat has been particularly costly, and she is hoping that her children, ages 23, 12, 7 and 7, can have the Christmas they deserve.
“Arranging payments has been difficult. I get sad sometimes, but I just have to believe that it’ll be OK.”
With money being tight, Kathryn is hoping the Santa Fund can provide a little joy for her children at a bleak time in their lives.
Started by The Telegraph in 1962, the Santa Fund was established to help struggling parents provide gifts for their children during the holidays. For more than a decade, the Salvation Army and Nashua Pastoral Care have been helping to register families and distribute gifts.
She noted that while requests for gifts by her 13-year-old daughter for a Hannah Montana computer game and Bakugan Battle Brawler cards by her 7-year-old-son are within reason, what she’s essentially looking for are clothes, pots and pans, and games.
“If we have love with us, it’ll be a good Christmas. I’m trying to keep spirit up for my children. I just want my family to be together and happy.”
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This article appears in the December 5 2008 issue of New Hampshire Business Review