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Cancer claims dad, leaves family shaken

| December 2, 2010 8:00 PM

This 19-year-old doesn't want anything for herself from Press Christmas for All.

She is seeking holiday help for her fiance and his family, especially his 13-year-old sister. Their father died from cancer just a week before Thanksgiving.

"It was very difficult ... it is still difficult," she said.

The young woman and her fiance, 20, both attend college.

She moved in with her prospective in-laws several weeks before the father's passing, to help maintain the household while the family cared for the ailing man. His last months were particularly hard on the family.

The dad was hospitalized for a time last summer when chemotherapy and radiation treatments made it difficult for him to eat or drink.

The day before he died, the father began coughing up blood, and was rushed to the emergency room. He was sent home with medication and appeared to have improved dramatically, enough to take his scooter out for a ride.

"He went and visited the neighbors and was just feeling really great," she said.

That evening things suddenly took a turn for the worse.

"His last words were to call 911," she said. "We had to start CPR, so my fiance did the chest compressions while his mother did the breathing. I instructed while speaking to the dispatch woman and trying to keep his sister from seeing everything."

An ambulance came and took the man to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The family is reeling emotionally, and their grief is compounded by anxiety about their financial situation.

"The only income that we have at the moment is mine and my fiance's which doesn't even cover the bills themselves," she said. "We hope that at least the 13-year-old can have some kind of Christmas present to open on Christmas morning."

With our readers' assistance, Press Christmas for All works to brighten the holidays for folks like this - people left jobless, homeless or who are barely making ends meet, individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Many are alone this holiday season.

Last year our generous readers' donations allowed us to assist thousands of families in need, and this year we expect to be asked for help from far more.

Each day until Christmas, we will share with you 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 25th 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, every penny raised is distributed in the form of gift cards to Fred Meyer and to Super 1 Food Stores. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The cards can be used to buy food and gifts but not alcohol or tobacco products.

To donate, 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.

Recent donors include:

Joanne Anderson; M.T. & P.M. Anderson; Atchley Financial Group, Inc.; Tim C. Bedal & Linda J. Miller; In loving memory of Amelia Benoit; Roger & Joyce Brockhoff; Keith & Karon Brown; Mrs. Will C. Brown; Norman & Elsie Burt; James & Toni Christy; Michael & Carol Clifford; Bruce & Marjorie Colwell; James & Marie Dubacher; Dorothy Dunn; Barry & Diane Farstad; Paul & Lisa Ferguson; David & Lenora Fields; In memory of Jackie Fischer, Terry & Marcia Fischer; Steve & Nancy Hill; Twyla Lea Jensen & Scott S. Owens; Richard & Judith Kurth; Don & Corrine Larsen; Twila Fae Little; Renee & Patrick Miller; Doris Peterson; Richard & Lee-Ann Powell; Carole Radar; Faye Shartser; Bradley J. Stoddard, P.A. Attorney at Law; Trindra Engineering; Robert Trommler; Darlene Williams; Pauline Wilson; Anonymous; Dr. & Mrs. Kevin J. Chang, M.D.

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