As the sisters got together and brainstormed what we could do this holiday season, we threw around a lot of ideas – 12 days of fudge recipe, our favorite Christmas cookies, even 12 days of giveaways . . . but nothing felt right. Then we had a new idea- what if we found 12 families who could use a little bit of extra help and love this holiday season?
Last year we were blown away by the thoughtfulness of our readers as we helped one family who was going through a hard time, so this year we decided that we would go a little further and help 12 families! To us, we feel the most joy when we focus on what the holidays are really all about and we believe that the true meaning of Christmas is to love and serve others. With that being said, we are so excited to bring to you our 12 Days of Giving Back!
December 1st through the 12th, we will be introducing you to 12 different families who were nominated by our readers as people who could use a little extra help this during this time. We received HUNDREDS of nominations and each story touched our hearts. The 12 that we chose really had an impact on us and we knew that we needed to help them.
With each post, we will tell one family’s story and share ways that you can help this family in need. Even if you don’t have money to donate but would still like to help, we will be donating $1 for every recipe that is uploaded to our new recipe sharing site, My Recipe Magic (up to $100 per day). If you would like to share your recipes and help donate to the family, CLICK HERE for the instructions to get you started (it’s easy!).
Day 2: The Helmer Family
I am a true believer that miracles are around us everyday… if we would just stop and pay attention we would see them. This family brought the realization of that back into my life. I would like to introduce you to the Helmer Family.
Stacy and Jason met as Sophomores in high school, fell in love, and were married a few years later. In August they celebrated their 10 year wedding anniversary. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born 2007, the next child, Christopher, was born in 2009 and they are currently expecting the third child, a boy named Jackson, who is due right before Christmas.
I chose the Helmer family for the 12 Days of Giving Back because their story touched me on so many levels. One thing that impressed me was that this family served everyone. From Co-Chairs of Fundraisers, to Jason giving his brother a kidney without a second thought. They were very involved in their community and helping others that I feel it is there turn to be helped.
In 2010, Jason was diagnosed with stage 1 metastatic melanoma. He underwent surgery to have the cancer removed from his back. He did is 3 month follow ups but in May 2011 he was diagnosed with stage 3 Melanoma in the same area. He underwent a larger surgery that included the removal of most lymph nodes in his left arm area.
He had P.E.T. scans every 6 months to be sure the cancer had not returned. His last one was April 2013 and showed no signs of cancer. But in July 2013 they found 10 lesions in his brain as well as 2 in his abdomen. He started radiation immediately and began aggressively fighting the cancer. One of the tumors was significantly larger and putting pressure and swelling on his brain and eye which made it hard for him to even see.
On August 22nd due to the swelling of the lesions in his brain and sodium levels in the body were so large it caused a herniated brain (SIADH syndrome). Jason slipped into a Coma where he was placed on life support. Stacy (being about 5 months along at that time), her two children, and their family and friends all came to say their goodbyes.
By some miracle, Jason surprised everyone including the medical staff and doctors by waking up the next day, making a miraculous comeback. He immediately started with aggressive radiation treatments and they also removed the largest tumor.
They will be doing more tests in December and will have to wait until the middle of January to see if the tumors in the abdomen or the brain have shrunk or been eliminated.
Jason should be able to see his son, Jackson, born in just a few weeks.
Stacy said that the Doctors have given the prognosis of 1 year, but she has faith that her husband’s will to live for his family will shine through. She is not going to let cancer run their lives and they will continue to have hope. He is a fighter and they will never lose faith in his ability to prove statistics wrong.
When I first told Stacy that Jason was chosen, the first thing out of her mouth was that she was so grateful to be able to share more about Melanoma. As Sisters, we lost a Grandmother to Melanoma, and I myself have had a scare with it. I was very happy to share this from Stacy.
I am excited because this is a way we can spread awareness for Melanoma. This is a cancer that CAN be prevented or easily managed with yearly routine skin checks with a doctor. This is also one of the deadliest cancers and treatment options are limited outside of general surgical remover of the cancer. If it goes to a place in the body that isn’t operable it makes treatment options limited posing an extremely high risk. Melanoma is known to go to the brain first and is a very cranky cancer. Melanoma IS skin Cancer. My husbands started with a mole on his back that just didn’t look right. It can also be detected as tumors under the skin as well. PLEASE read about Melanoma and share the awareness to help prevent this horrible cancer…..
We also know that for many of you, money is tight. So during these next twelve days, for every recipe that is uploaded to our new site (My Recipe Magic) we will donate $1 to the family who we spotlight each day (up to $100 a day). For instructions on how to upload a recipe, CLICK HERE.
To donate to Jason and his family, click HERE or on the donate button.
Thank you for your prayers and support for the Helmer Family this Christmas!
All money donated during the 12 Days of Giving Back will go directly to the families and the specific bank accounts that they have set up through PayPal or fundme accounts. All families chosen for this have been thoroughly screened and we feel you can donate confidently, knowing that your donation is going to a most-deserving family.