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CASES 67-68: Couple's struggles trace back to car accident

CASE 67 • J and A are struggling with a situation familiar to many: cash crunch. The couple got by until last year — paying the mortgage and bills for the home they proudly call their own while providing for their four children. The money problems began with a car accident that injured J and saddled a family without health insurance with $12,000 in medical expenses. To help them get through this difficult period, the family would appreciate donations of clothing for an infant and two boys and financial assistance with their personal property taxes and medical bills.

CASE 68 • Cancer changes everything, and Ms. G has suffered a lot of changes. At 52, she’s in remission from uterine and breast cancer and was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer. She just started chemo. She’s resolute, though, and doesn’t let it get her down, volunteering at her local community center and enjoying her time with friends. Ms. G’s daughter, L, and grandson, B, live with her. He has more troubles than an 11-year-old should – bowel disease, asthma, learning disabilities – and has been in the hospital four times this year. Ms. G’s daughter lost her full-time job, but works part-time. They need help with food, utilities and paying for medications, as well as clothing and basic household items, from sheets and towels to pots and pans. They’re hoping for Christmas gifts for B as well, for a little happiness this holiday season.

Profiles by Steve Giegerich and Sarah Bryan Miller of the Post-Dispatch

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Case 68 has been updated with a case from the 2013 campaign. A prior version of the story incorrectly included a case that had been part of the 2012 campaign.

How to give

For generations, the 100 Neediest Cases campaign has helped thousands of disadvantaged families during the holidays. The tradition dates to 1922, when civic leaders formed the Christmas Bureau. The Post-Dispatch has partnered with the program for more than five decades, renaming the campaign 100 Neediest Cases in 1954. Annual donations to the campaign swelled to $1.4 million last year from $400 in 1922.

HOW IT WORKS • More than 70 social service agencies, working through the United Way, identify thousands of needy families. This year, nearly 12,400 cases were submitted. Volunteers then select 100 cases to be profiled in the newspaper to raise awareness and encourage donations for all the families.

TWO WAYS TO GIVE

ADOPT A CASE • For highest-need cases, the program supplies donors with a list of a family's needs. Donors are asked to meet at least one of the stated needs and provide at least one present for each child. Everything goes directly to the family, through a social worker. Last year more than 800 high-need cases were adopted.

DONATE • Monetary gifts to the 100 Neediest Cases general fund are used to help the 12,400 cases, and go directly to the family. Those households represent more than 23,000 people.

TO ADOPT A CASE OR DONATE • Call 314-421-6060 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, visit 100neediestcases.org, or mail a check to P.O. Box 955925, St. Louis, Mo. 63195.