This mother said she wonders if this Christmas will be her last with her children, a 12-year-old boy and a girl, 20.
"I don't really think so, but no one knows. Sometimes, it feels like it," she said.
She was diagnosed with scleroderma several years ago, and her symptoms have become more serious. The condition causes hardening of the skin and connective tissue, and it's begun to affect her organs.
"It's in my esophagus. I have trouble swallowing," she said.
There are signs it's affecting her lungs also. She becomes short of breath and tires easily.
Last year, it became increasingly difficult for her to continue working as an aide for a local school district. Now, she's in the process of applying for disability. Funds are particularly tight because her ex-husband was laid off in 2010 and hasn't had steady work since. He's seldom able to provide child support.
"My daughter goes to NIC. She wants to be a nurse, bless her heart," the mom said.
Financial aid pays for her daughter's schooling. The young woman also works part-time at a fast-food restaurant so she can afford gas and car insurance.
The mom said she worries most about her boy, a middle school student. He's very attached to her, she said.
This is the first time she's asked for help from Press Christmas for All.
"I've always been able to do something for my kids. I'm embarrassed to ask. I did it for them," she said.
With our readers' assistance, Press Christmas for All works to brighten the holidays for people like this - the jobless, homeless, those who are barely making ends meet, individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Many are alone this holiday season.
Each year, our generous readers' donations allow us to assist thousands of Kootenai County families in need. Each day until Christmas, we will share the stories of those whose holiday memories will be a little happier because of Press Christmas for All.
Donations are collected, then distributed in the form of gift cards to Kootenai County residents in need.
Press Christmas for All is a holiday charity now in its 27th year. It is managed as a nonprofit by The Hagadone Corp. Because it is run by volunteers from The Hagadone Corp. and their partners at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, with assistance from North Idaho College employee volunteers, every penny raised is distributed in the form of gift cards from Shopko or Super 1 Foods, local retailers who also generously support the program. The cards can be used to buy food and gifts but not alcohol or tobacco products. All contributions are tax deductible.
To give, please send a check to:
Press Christmas for All 201 Second St. Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
You can also call (208) 664-8176 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and donate by credit card.
Donations can be made securely online at www.christmasforallcda.com
Recent donors: Nosworthy's Hall of Fame; Henry DePew; Ronald Buffett; Anonymous; Gary Gilbert; Bill & Gail Everson; Richard Stanberry; Rose; Meribeth Nissen; Margie Wise; Lucille & Del Bradshaw; Larry & Laureen Belmont; Randy & Deidre Sindelar; Anonymous; William & Valerie Wolfe; V & H James Family; Verla Packer; Carty & Carly Gardipe; George & Ann Washington; Nancy & Timothy Hartzell; John & Phyllis Albee; Mark & Darlene Nason; C. Barry Zimmerman; Michelle Klukas; John & Kathy Barlow; Lyman & B. Lambeth; Nancy Mertz; Kathy & Bill Meeker; Space Crew, Inc.; Brad Hagadone; Barstow Foundation - William Dixon; The Kiwanis Club, Inc. of CDA; H & J Severtson; Contractors Northwest Inc.; Anonymous; Coeur d' Alene Athletic Roundtable; Bradley & Shariae Dugdale; Dr. Keene; The Hiatt Family (in memory of Eileen Adolphson).
Notes from our donors
We hope this helps a little for so many with nothing. I wish things were better for those hurting.
The Glynn Family