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!For the next 12 days, 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.
Day 8: The Bulich Family
Meet the Bulich Family. Michelle (the mother), 11 year old Sam, 9 year old Matthew, 6 year old Emma, 4 year old E.J, and 2 year old Kaleb.
It all began in 2010 when Emma (on the bottom left) was diagnosed with leukemia at at 3. Michelle and her fiancé, Edward Barcus — Ed, as Michelle called him — determined to power through.
As they neared their three-year anniversary in the oncology unit at the Children’s Hospital in Norfolk, Michelle thought about returning to work. Emma’s treatments would be done in April 2013.
But that never happened….
In February, E.J. was in the emergency room. Among other symptoms, his stomach was distended and hard. Michelle prayed that it was a serious case of constipation.
A diagnosis finally came through. Michelle wouldn’t be leaving the CHKD oncology unit soon. E.J. had Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a rare childhood cancer that usually results in a tumor around the kidneys, which is the case for E.J. His tumor is so large it takes up the majority of his abdominal cavity, and he had a surgery planned for the middle of July.
The prognosis for her son is shaky, Michelle says. He is diagnosed as an “at risk” cancer patient because of his age — neuroblastoma patients have the best chance of recovery as infants.
Then in June, at the age of 33, Michelle’s fiance died after a seizure left him unconscious and on life support. In the days leading up to his death, Ed sat with his son E.J. at the hospital and helped Michelle manage their four other young children.
Michelle’s world is a whirlwind even after 5 months.
E.J. is in the hospital right now and the doctors don’t think he will be home for Christmas. Michelle spends most of those days sitting with him as he gets blood and platelet transfusions, a process that takes hours. It’s not unusual, she says, to be there from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., if not staying the night.
Her other children, take turns going from the Boys and Girls Club near their Newport News home to Michelle’s mom’s house in York County. When Ed was alive, he and Michelle balanced hospital visits with family time through a web of shift changes. When they could, they liked to sit together at the hospital.
Even after everything, Michelle is still trucking through trying to take care of E.J. along with her other children. All she wants this year, is to give her kids a Christmas. I believe they truly deserve one.
If you are interested in donating to the Bulich family please click on the Donate tab.
Thank you for your support and prayers in behalf of the Bulich Family!
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 GoFundMe. 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.