As in years past, Random Acts staff have been given the opportunity — and of course, the means necessary — to spread #RAHolidayKindness in their communities. This is one of our favorite times of the year, where everyday kindness and compassion are met with the sense of goodwill and tidings of joy that the holiday season brings. Many of us were very excited to get started, including Staff Writer Dreana Ferguson, whose incredible multi-day kindness act began even before Thanksgiving!
First, a bit of background information. Dreana has been supporting her mom Becky in her journey to overcome breast cancer. She has been by her mom’s side through innumerable doctor’s visits and hospital stays, to strengthen her and help keep her spirits up. In the waiting room of one such doctor’s visit, Dreana and Becky met Theresa. Theresa had been diagnosed with breast cancer only a week prior. She was at her first appointment to determine what stage she was in and to what extent the cancer had spread.
Becky offered to give her support and encouragement to Theresa, and the two exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch. Since that meeting, the three women got to know each other better, and Becky now attends chemotherapy with Theresa. Dreana and Becky also learned that Theresa works as a playground monitor in the same school district where Becky works, giving them a more positive thing in common.
Giving Thanks Together
Theresa lives with her boyfriend Terry and their three daughters, ages 11, 1, and 3 months. They also recently took in Theresa’s 17-year-old brother right before Theresa received her diagnosis. So they have a large and busy family, and they were struggling. When Thanksgiving came around, Dreana wanted to help make the holiday as stress-free as possible. With funding from Random Acts, Dreana and her mom bought all the essentials needed for a Thanksgiving feast — turkey and gravy, stuffing, yams, veggies, rolls, and even pumpkin pie! But the kindness did not stop there.
Filling a Kitchen
While Dreana and Becky were visiting with Theresa and her family after delivering the Thanksgiving goodies, they were quietly making note of the kinds of foods the family usually had in their cabinets. Then they went out and bought groceries and diapers and returned to fill Theresa’s kitchen with the foods they enjoy every day. This was a huge delivery, with boxes and bags that Dreana says filled their entire trunk. Theresa, she says, was brought to tears.
“One special thing about my family doing this is that we were able to make decisions based on what we wish someone would have done for us,” Dreana says. “We have been incredibly lucky with family and friends helping. But it can be hard to know what to ask for in the moment when you are overwhelmed with cancer diagnosis and treatment. In hindsight, this is what would have helped us most. Simple groceries so we could focus on larger scale things.”
And yet, Dreana and her mom still were not done.
Celebrating the Season
The last piece of their holiday kindness for their new friends was to bring food and gifts for the family to help celebrate Christmas. Dreana says their final delivery was “truly magical,” as they chose a time when they knew the children would be at home. The kids were so excited to help unpack the presents, and spent a good amount of time holding different one. Everyone got gifts, including Theresa, her boyfriend, and her brother. And they brought plenty of food for Christmas dinner as well. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Theresa’s grandmother had passed away. So this act of kindness was even more meaningful for the family.
“We are so thankful for the opportunity to do this for such a deserving family,” Dreana says. “The groceries provided concrete aid for basic needs so that the family can focus on Theresa’s treatment and recovery. And the gifts are making it possible for the family — especially the children — to still have a happy holiday season, despite cancer.”
We at Random Acts cannot thank you enough for your generous support. With your help, we can provide caring support for people who are struggling, reminding them that even in dark times, there is light. Thank you for being that light with us.