Rescuing Christmas for 10-Year-Old Adysyn

Oct 13, 2020

“Is Santa not going to come this year?” 10-year-old Adysyn asked as Christmas approached last year. “Did we do something bad?” The questions devastated her mom, Paula. Despite the family’s best efforts, they’d not been able to shield Adysyn from their financial worries.

Adysyn was born with many health conditions, including autism, spina bifida, severe sensory deprivation disorder, and an inoperable tumor on her spine. The surgical procedures and therapies required to treat her conditions kept Paula home from work often. Her employer eventually let her go.

When Paula was no longer eligible for unemployment, she tried Social Security. Despite the family’s financial strain, they didn’t quality for the benefit. Paula and her husband tried to shield their three children, Adysyn, now 11, Chris, 17, and Erich, 18, from these tough realities, but clearly their daughter had caught on.

“At the time, I wasn’t sure how to buy groceries, let alone gifts,” Paula said of the months leading up to Christmas last year. Her sons told her not to worry about buying them gifts. They understood, they said. “But as a parent, you don’t want any of your kids to go without,” Paula said.

When she ran into a Salvation Army staff member at her daughter’s school, Paula discovered the many ways the Army could help. While she was technically too late to sign up for the Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas presents to children who would otherwise go without, she said the Army staff member went out of her way to accommodate her family.

“There would not have been a single gift last Christmas if not for The Salvation Army,” Paula said. Not only did the Army provide gifts for Adysyn and her brothers, they also received bedding, clothes, and winter coats all through our Adopt-a-Family program. That year, Santa brought Adysyn a finger paint set, a Lite Brite, which Paula says her daughter worshipped, and an Easy-Bake Oven, which Adysyn still uses.

For her sons, Paula said, “It meant they learned that there are special people in this world who will go above and beyond to help others.” For Adysyn, she said the help meant “she wasn’t disappointed that Santa went to all the other homes and not hers.”

“I wish I had the words to articulate what that meant to me,” Paula said. “It meant everything. It was people stepping in to do something for my kids that I couldn’t. I have the utmost appreciation and respect for The Salvation Army.”

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