The holiday season is about more than getting gifts tied with pretty bows. It’s a time to be thankful for what we have and help people in need.
Ashtabula County residents embodied this spirit to help a struggling single mother of three who is fighting cancer, who had one wish — to have a place to call home for the holidays.
Melissa Snyder, 36, whose story was featured in the Star Beacon last week, will have a merry Christmas, thanks to our newspaper’s readers.
As of Monday, Snyder received monetary gifts of more than $300, a box of food, a big bag of gifts for the family, $25 gift certificates for each of her three teenage children, and a donated bed. Thanks to the monetary donations, she signed a lease Monday for an apartment in Jefferson.
“It’s the best Christmas ever,” she said, wiping away tears of joy. “I am excited and happy that I got a place of my own.”
As for her health, she’s received approval for her Medicaid and once the cards come in the mail, she can see a local doctor and start cancer treatments again.
Her children — ages 14 to 16 — are greatly relieved, she said.
Snyder recently moved back to Ashtabula County after living in Volusia County, Fla. for several years. An Ashtabula County native, she followed her mother down there, she said.
While living in Florida, Snyder was diagnosed with T-Cell lymphoma, a blood cancer.
She was getting chemotherapy and having a rough time. Then, her mother moved back to Ohio.
When Snyder went into the hospital with an infection, she had no one to watch her children.
“I worried constantly about the kids — what they were doing, if they were safe,” she said. “The doctor said, ‘if you don’t stop worrying, you will never get out of here.’”
When the doctor discharged her, she told the children they were moving back to Ohio, where they had relatives to help.
“We traveled on a Greyhound bus for three days to get here,” she said. “I was in constant pain the entire trip.”
The family has been staying in a house trailer with Snyder’s friend, Jenny Morgan, and her family in Andover. The landlord, who has been gracious up until now, said Snyder had to be out by Jan. 1.
Now, thanks to Star Beacon readers, Snyder and the children are going to have their own apartment for the New Year. Knowing she soon will receive medical treatment also is a relief.
“I want to get better; my children need me,” she said. “I appreciate everything everyone has done for us. It’s amazing.”
By Shelley Terry - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (MCT)©2013 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)
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