ALERT

Cases 30-32: Mother receives master's degree, then a devastating diagnosis

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100 Neediest

Drawing by Zoe Krause of Brentwood High School.

CASE 30 • Ms. K had just received her master’s degree last year when her troubles started: The mother of five was hospitalized for a week with a diagnosis of severe Crohn’s disease, combined with colon cancer. She was previously in good health, but the diagnosis put her out of work for almost a year. Ms. K owes money for medical bills, utility bills, tuition and rent, and her debts are far greater than her income. She can’t afford to buy even the basics, and she’s battling depression. Her children, one of whom is autistic, range from an infant to a 14-year-old; they’re looking at a sparse Christmas.

CASE 31 • Ms. D’s son was fatally shot this year while standing at a bus stop, devastating her and her four remaining children. Ms. D is a working single mother struggling to make ends meet, and funeral costs added to her financial strain. In addition, Ms. D recently had to buy a car after another driver rammed into her last car, totaling it. Ms. D and her children, ranging in age from 3 to 18, would appreciate any assistance during the Christmas holiday.

CASE 32 • Mr. V, 51, is recovering from acute respiratory failure. The condition left him bed-bound and mostly nonverbal. The medical crisis put him in the hospital for five months, followed by rehab. Mr. V, his girlfriend and teenage daughter fell behind on rent and other bills. Their main income is Mr. V’s disability check, which is garnished each month for student loans. Mr. V goes without some medical supplies, and his household is running paper-thin.

Case profiles by Sarah Bryan Miller, Rachel Rice and Jesse Bogan of the Post-Dispatch.

To give

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.

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 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 the more than 4,000 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.

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