When the woman’s daughter was born, she weighed less than 4 pounds. The infant spent the first 18 days of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit, where doctors could promise just a measure of hope.
The woman’s only child survived those perilous early days, the girl’s mother wrote in a letter to Globe Santa, only to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 17 months old.
“I am writing to ask you if you can please be a blessing this holiday season to my sweet, miracle angel,” she wrote. “She is 5 years old and has had 19 surgeries and been in-patient at Children’s Hospital in Boston several times since birth, totaling more than 100 days to date.”
The little girl is just reaching the cognitive development stage of a typical 2-year-old and attends a preschool program for children with special needs. But her prognosis is uncertain. Her medical condition requires treatments to help her with speech, motor skills, and other basic functions.
But through it all, her mother wrote, the child stays upbeat.
“At times, we ponder how through countless therapies, appointments, and hospital stays, our little girl is able to continue to smile,” she wrote. “It is with that smile that she reminds us daily to be thankful for all the blessings that have come our way.”
The level of care her daughter requires left little choice but for her mother to leave her career as a teacher, and while she has devoted all her energy to her daughter’s needs, there is little she can do to change most of the medical realities.
“I have not only become a first-time parent but a first-time nurse as well. There are currently no specific treatments for her particular illness” she wrote. “All I can do is give her endless amounts of love and support. It’s been difficult financially, but I know this was the right choice.”
Still, faced with a mountain of bills and medical expenses, she realized a few months ago that she would need help this year if her daughter was to know the excitement of Christmas morning. So she wrote to Globe Santa — knowing that the program has been helping families like hers for more than 50 years — and asked him to add her daughter to his delivery list this Christmas.
Since 1956, the Globe Santa campaign has delivered toys, books, stocking stuffers, games, and candy to families throughout Eastern Massachusetts that celebrate Christmas but cannot afford gifts for their children. Last year, $1.2 million was raised and more than 50,000 children in 32,240 families discovered presents from Globe Santa under their tree.
The mother of the “sweet, miracle angel,” who will join the thousands of other boys and girls receiving gifts from Globe Santa this year, made sure her request ended with what has become second nature to her: an expression of faith and thanksgiving.
“We rely heavily on faith and prayer that everything will turn out just fine, and we continue to see wonderful progress,” she wrote. “I want to thank everyone in advance for this wonderful program and for all your generous donations.”
The Boston Globe Foundation pays all of the administrative costs associated with the fund drive, so 100 percent of the money donated to Globe Santa is used to buy and deliver presents to children.