Cancer victim faces lonely Christmas

By Eric Butler

This holiday season, as in most years, the burdens that Sophie bears will be hers alone.
With little income to stretch out for things like Christmas gifts, maybe it’s lucky for Sophie (not her real name) that she doesn’t have to worry about accommodating wishes by children and grandchildren for specific, out-of-her-price-range presents.
But, then again, being alone isn’t easy when Christmas rolls around.
“I have no income and I could use some help,” said Sophie, a resident of the area for the last 49 years.
To compound the feelings of loneliness that sometimes invade her thoughts, Sophie also has problems with her health.
“I was diagnosed with cervical cancer on Nov. 2, 2002, and I’m still going,” Sophie said. “The treatments haven’t worked.”
Paying for the health treatments is more than a little problem for Sophie, whose primary aid — at the moment — consists of food stamps. Social Security payments may be forthcoming in the near future, but her case is only “pending” right now.
Sophie decided to seek some help from the Salvation Army this year through the group’s Empty Stocking program.
Though she lives alone, it’s still possible for Sophie to find some pleasure this holiday season — even as she waits for financial assistance and, hopefully, some success through her cancer treatments.
“I just want a happy and healthy Christmas,” she said.
Through the Empty Stocking Fund, a joint effort of the Salvation Army and the Clovis News Journal, Sophie will receive a food basket that includes pancake mix, peanut butter, jelly, canned goods, cereal, beans, rice, sugar and macaroni and cheese.
More than 400 local families are scheduled to receive the baskets through the Empty Stocking Fund this holiday season.
Donations for the Empty Stocking Fund may be dropped off at the CNJ, 521 Pile St., or mailed to the CNJ, P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102-1689. Envelopes should be clearly marked to indicate they contain a donation for the Empty Stocking Fund.
All contributions will be forwarded to the Salvation Army.
People who would like to donate food or new Christmas toys or clothing items may do so at the Salvation Army office, 317 E. Second St.
Information is available by calling the Salvation Army office at 762-3801.