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Young mother looks to Secret Santa for holiday help

Bonnie has spent her life standing on her own two feet. She worked and studied to get a good job as a professional and enjoyed the respect of her peers. Her husband, Rick, can say the same about his approach to life.

Yet swiftly and suddenly tragedy hit the couple. Bonnie was in a massive car accident and a year or so later Rick was diagnosed with two debilitating illnesses. Now the couple must reach out for support from family, friends and sometimes even strangers.

They do it for themselves. More importantly they do it for their young son.

“We have had to go on social service. I have lost my ability to drive,” Bonnie candidly says. “It is a struggle. My husband and I take shifts with our son. My parents come and visit twice a year and try to cram everything in that time. To give my son experiences, we can’t afford like movies.”

Both husband and wife have large pharmacy bills, as well as having to make the rounds with specialists.

“I was very high functioning,” Bonnie said. “It has really devastated us. I used to bike and do yoga and dance. Now I sit and do needlepoint, if I have the energy. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed.”

What is also hard is facing the Christmas holidays. Not for themselves, but for their son.

“My son grew three inches this summer,” Bonnie said. “My mother-in-law, thank goodness, will hit a lot of garage sales and we will be able to have clothes. And our church has given us clothes. We will get used toys.”

That’s why Bonnie is reaching out to the county’s Secret Santa fund for her son.

“He is already getting used stuff … to have something new,” she said.

And helping those like Bonnie and Rick’s son is why the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals is working so hard to raise money for this holiday’s Secret Santa program. And Bonnie and Rick are deeply grateful to them and to all who contribute.

“There are people out there who do work really hard, really have put everything into making a life and having a family,” she said. “They give it their all every day and still have problems making it. At some point, you never know if it could be you. You are that far from needing help. With programs like that, especially with our economy, it is a lifesaver. … There are circumstances that are not your fault. It is really nice that people care like that. It does bring true happiness.”

Those who want to help the program can do that by sending their checks of any amount they wish made out to the LEDC Secret Santa and sent to the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce office, P.O. Box 488, South Point, OH 45680.

Or if you want to sponsor a child contact Casey Baker at 304-691-8410.

(Bonnie and Rick are a couple from Lawrence County. Their names have been changed to protect their privacy.)