Mother with terminal diagnosis still wants to adopt a family for Coins for Kids

Teams shop for a family, large or small, based on a list of requested items in the KONY Coins for Kids program. Bloomington Walmart, St. George, Utah, Dec. 16, 2015 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

FEATURE — Every year, besides raising money to buy gifts for children in need, KONY’s Coins for Kids also asks members of the community to personally “adopt” a family and buy gifts for the children.

Read more: KONY’s Coins for Kids set to spread Christmas joy one smile at a time; seeks applicants and volunteers

When I received the following email to Carl Lamar, president of Coins for Kids, from a mother who had been recently given a terminal diagnosis, I recognized immediately the true meaning of “holiday spirit” (and just between you and me, I got a little choked up as I imagined my own young children facing the possibility of losing their mother).

Despite her diagnosis – an event that often causes families to proverbially circle the wagons, both emotionally and financially – this mother wrote that her family still wanted to participate in Coins for Kids, something they had done for the past 15 years, including adopting families the past two years.

This was an example of generosity of spirit that I wanted to share with St. George News readers, so I contacted the author of the email. She responded back and gave me permission to run the email on one condition: anonymity.

It’s not our policy at St. George News to run anonymous content, but I was planning on doing it in this case anyway. After all, she didn’t send this as a letter to the editor. She wasn’t looking for public praise or a pat on the back. It was simply an email to Coins for Kids that happened to make its way to me. And the fact that she asked for anonymity makes it even more powerful. So of course I would do that.

Please read her email below. I would like to personally wish the best to this mother and her family. As she says in her email, “I still hope and pray to beat those odds.” I hope the same thing, and I thank you for your kindness.

Paul Dail
Editor in chief

As a family, this year has reminded us that memories have much more value than things. It has been a difficult year for our family. I (mom 39 years old) received a medical diagnosis this year that makes it unlikely that I will be around for more than a couple more Christmases, if that (although I still hope and pray to beat those odds) and the medical expenses are excessive and piling up.

We have explained the changes in our financial situation this year to our children, that they would not be getting the large or expensive Christmas gifts this year. I worried that they would be disappointed that they wouldn’t receive gifts similar to the gifts that their friends in our neighborhood will surely receive.

We anxiously asked our teenage children what they would like for Christmas (that would fit our budget), and all three requested to make memories as a family by again adopting a Coins for Kids family for Christmas, rather than receiving gifts themselves.

I have the most amazing kids. Thank you for providing this opportunity to make family memories by giving to others. We have shopped with Coins for Kids since my youngest (now they’re 16 years old) twin sons were babies – every year for the last 15 years. Then, as finances allowed, we have adopted a family each of the last two years.

We are so excited to adopt a family with young children. Since my children are donating their own Christmas to get gifts for our adopted family, it would be so appreciated if you would match gender so each of my children can shop and wrap for their “adopted” mini-me. If at all possible, we’d like to request that the family we adopt has small children (old enough to be excited about Christmas AND still believe in Santa), one girl and two boys.

We love your organization and cherish all of the family memories made while serving together. Thank you for providing us with those opportunities. I remember participating in something similar with my family growing up, and it’s wonderful to have been able to carry on that tradition and legacy of giving with my own family.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • Comment November 28, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    I’m not sure how I feel about this. Guilt maybe? Regret? It’s not a happy feeling but I’m not sure what it is. Gonna have to ponder it.

    • ladybugavenger November 28, 2018 at 9:51 pm


      When I read it, I didnt feel joy or good. It seemed weird because it was a news story instead of just a private, personal thing she wanted to do.

      • Paul Dail November 29, 2018 at 9:21 am

        Comment and ladybugavenger,

        Thanks for your comments. I’d like to take a moment to respond since I chose to publish this, which gets right to my first point. As I mentioned in the introduction, this was my choice to run this feature article. She wasn’t looking for praise or a pat on the back. She didn’t contact us and say, “Hey, can you write a news story about me?” This was originally intended to be a private message to Coins for Kids. Why did she include those details about her situation? I don’t know. Taking the face value of the email, I would say that she was just so proud of her kids that she wanted to share that. And who can blame her?

        As to your reactions, I won’t speak to why you might feel guilt or regret when you read this. Only you know the answer to that. But I don’t think you are necessarily supposed to feel joy, either. This isn’t exactly a traditional feel-good story. As I mentioned in my introduction, it made me sad to hear about this family. But as someone else here commented, it also gave me hope. Above the partisan bickering and political grandstanding that fills the pages of the news, this was a simple feature story of a family who chose, as she said, to make memories – and memories of helping others, at that – more important than tangible things in the last months that they have together. I don’t think we need to try to find fault with that.

        Thanks again for your comments and for being, as always, active participants in St. George News.

        Paul Dail
        Editor in chief

        • Comment November 29, 2018 at 10:00 am

          Thanks for clarifying Paul. I guess it generally is quite a sad story and not uplifting in the typical sense. Maybe it’s more of a lesson about being grateful and keeping in mind that any of us could go at any time? It does really makes you consider things a lot more than a typical holiday giving type of story. Maybe that’s a good thing.

          “Thanks again for your comments and for being, as always, active participants in St. George News.”

          A slight hint of sarcasm detected there. All good 😉

          • Paul Dail November 29, 2018 at 10:33 am

            Ha ha. No sarcasm intended. All of our regular commenters (“active participants”) are clearly passionate about what they see here at St. George News, and I truly do appreciate it. Sometimes moderating said passion is a little tricky, but it comes with the territory.

            So, truly, thanks.

            Paul Dail
            Editor in chief

  • kozandfct November 29, 2018 at 12:03 am

    This story is beautiful and the message is inspiring. The author states that he wanted to share this as an example of generosity and spirit; he nailed it. I believe there is more good in the world than bad, however this is rarely reflected in the news. The belief in this prevalence of good gives me peace. It gives me hope. I appreciate the reminder of such goodness right here in our community, it inspired me to continue striving to live a life of gratitude and service. The positivity in this message is contagious which generates more goodness around us. My prayers and sincere compassion go out to this woman and her family. My hope for beating the odds joins with yours. My heart is with you and my spirit thanks you.

    • KR567 November 29, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Great story ….well done

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.