Cases 10-12: Woman loses home and possessions to bed bugs

CASE 10 • At 18, Q is juggling more than most adults could handle. The high school senior lives with his aunt, who has stage 4 colon cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. With medical bills piling up, Q took a job working 12-hour shifts three nights a week. Even with those responsibilities, he has managed to maintain his grades and keep his spot on his school’s football and basketball teams. Both Q and his aunt could use clothing and household items. Assistance with rent and car repairs would take some of the weight off Q’s shoulders.

CASE 11 • Ms. D has always been one to step up to meet the needs of her community — volunteering to help clean a church, working with a nonprofit child care agency and helping to organize an annual fall gathering. Now, Ms. D, 59, is the one who needs a hand. Her apartment and all of her belongings became infested with bed bugs, forcing her to discard everything and move. She continues to work hard and has maintained a positive spirit, but she could use furniture, clothing and household goods to help get back on her feet.

CASE 12 • R is a determined 11-year-old who suffers with a rare genetic condition and other medical issues including seizures, autism, visual impairment, Crohn’s disease and developmental delays. This year, her seizures have been growing stronger and more frequent. R is mostly nonverbal, but uses a few words, facial expressions and body language to convey how she’s feeling. R has a team of therapists and doctors, and her mother, Ms. C, works hard to help her daughter. In order to be with her daughter when she gets sick and to take her to her many appointments, Ms. C works part time. She keeps a careful budget and relatives sometimes pitch in, but money is always tight. On top of that, Ms. C suffered a fractured jaw in an accident and now needs surgery.

Case profiles by Colleen Schrappen, Cathy Hensley and Rachel Rice of the Post-Dispatch.

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 person in the family. Everything goes directly to the family, through a social worker.

DONATE: Monetary gifts to the 100 Neediest Cases general fund are used to help 4,300 cases, and go directly to the families.

FUNDRAISE: Encourage friends, family and others to join you in helping. Set up a fundraising page for your adopted family or the program overall, and have an even bigger impact.

TO HELP: Call 314-421-6060 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, visit 100neediestcases.org, or mail a check payable to "100 Neediest Cases" (no cash) to P.O. Box 955925, St. Louis, Mo. 63195.

Tradition

The tradition of 100 Neediest Cases campaign dates to 1922, when civic leaders formed the Christmas Bureau. The Post-Dispatch has partnered with the program for more than five decades, renaming it 100 Neediest Cases in 1954.

HOW IT WORKS: Social service agencies, working through the United Way, identify thousands of needy families. Volunteers then select 100 cases to be profiled in the newspaper to raise awareness.

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