Cancer treatment overwhelms single mother of four

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LOREN BENOIT/Press Press employee Brenda Hanson, left, accepts a check for $1,000 from Diane and Don Barron for The Coeur d’Alene Press Christmas for All fundraiser.

As part of the annual Press Christmas for All campaign, we share with readers the stories of some of the people applying for help. Here’s one of them.


This single mom works full-time to support her kids, even as she battles two different forms of cancer.

Earlier this year, the mom of four sought treatment for what was thought to be a cyst. It turned out to be a rare form of ovarian cancer. She had no insurance, and after surgery, she was unable to work for a month.

“Everything hit all at once,” she told Press Christmas for All.

Soon after, she was also diagnosed with skin cancer that required surgery.

But that wasn’t the end. Her ovarian cancer will never be in complete remission, she said.

“The doctor thought I would be in the clear for at least five years, but my numbers are already going up,” she said.

She started chemotherapy last month.

The physical, emotional and financial strain on the family has been tremendous. She puts on a brave face in front of her kids, not wanting them to see how scared she is. But behind closed doors, it’s a different story.

“I know it doesn’t look good on my end,” she said. “I just have to take things one day at a time. I don’t want my kids to grow up without a mom, but I don’t have a choice in that. I just have to trust in God.”

It’s hard to ask for help, the mom said. The family of five receives no assistance, not even support from the children’s father. But this year, more than ever, the mom wants to make Christmas a little brighter for her kids.

This is the 33rd year Press Christmas for All has worked to brighten the lives of Kootenai County residents in need during the holiday season.

Each year, Press readers donate generously to the program. The money collected is distributed in the form of gift cards to those who might not otherwise be able to put a holiday meal on the table or purchase a small gift for a child.

The gift recipients are our neighbors who are struggling, including the elderly, disabled and mentally ill. Many who seek assistance from Christmas for All are working, but living near or below the poverty level. They are barely making ends meet and they do not qualify for other holiday charity programs.

Some are responsible for children, others are alone throughout the holiday season. Despair is a common factor. But through Christmas for All, they feel the compassion of a caring community during what can be a very difficult time of year for them.

Press Christmas for All is managed by The Hagadone Corp., with assistance from Kootenai County Fire and Rescue. It is a legally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, run entirely by volunteers.

Every penny raised is distributed to needy Kootenai County residents. All overhead costs are covered by The Hagadone Corp. and the volunteers at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue.

Donations can be made by dropping off or mailing a check to: Press Christmas for All, 215 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.

To donate online, visit Click on the menu on the left side of the page to find Christmas for All 2018.

To make a donation by phone using your credit card, call 208-664-8176.


Robert E Guenther; John and Phyllis Albee; Dean and Laura Eisenbarth; Ellen Larsen; In Memory of Ben Phillips; J and L Sharples; Deedie Beard; Nona Trujillo; Dennis and Sherry Irish; Douglas and Eileen Cresswell; Mary and Doug Baker; L and F Grutta; Lawrence and Sheila Redfield; W and R Crawford; Charles and Bonnie Patterson; Dwayne and Anita Moore; H and K Hayes; Silda Pollard.


Don and Diane Barron; Stephen and Delores Smith; Ray and Marcine Doyal; David and Karen Crouse.

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