2016 ‘Christmas With Us’ Grand Gift Recipient
With all the deserving entries for this year’s Christmas With Us, it was hard to choose just one grand gift winner. However, we asked for your help and we have our 2016 recipient!
The Peterson family will receive the grand gift package thanks to our generous sponsors of this year’s Christmas With Us. Take a look at their story:
My sister Tiffany and her husband Al from Mandan, ND have 2 children. Cooper who is 2 and Owen who is 4 years old. Right around Cooper's 1st birthday, he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis 1 with optic gliomas. These tumors on his optic nerves caused him to go blind shortly thereafter. He was treated with chemotherapy, but to no avail, the tumors kept growing and spreading. Christmas last year was spent at the U of M Children's hospital for several weeks. Cooper had fluid building up on his brain and needed surgery to place 2 shunts. There were complications during this surgery, so the shunts could not be placed. Several days later, they tried the surgery again and took biopsies of these tumors and they came back as fibrillary astrocytomas (Cancer) This was a devastating blow to the family. Cooper was then accepted into a drug study being the only child under the age of 2 in the US at the time on this drug. Only 3 other kids his age were in the study thus far, all living in Europe. This drug seems to be working and are keeping the tumors at bay. Cooper has spent plenty of time in hospitals throughout his life due to different complications of his diagnosis. His caretaker who is a very dear friend of Tiffany's was just diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma causing her to resign as Cooper's caretaker. With all of his appointments, scheduled and surprise, and the loss of his caregiver, Tiffany had to quit her job as a Nurse at Sanford orthopedics department and start working some evenings and weekends at the walk in clinic to stay home with the boys. This past weekend, Cooper had to be flown via air ambulance to the U of M due to more complications. I am taking care of Owen while my sister and husband are at this moment waiting to hear if Cooper needs yet another brain surgery. All of the time in the hospital causes Al and Tiffany to have to take time off unpaid since they have used up all of their PTO. Needless to say, they have a very stressful life and any help, they are so very grateful for.
Are continued thoughts and prayers are with the Peterson family. Thanks to all who voted and our wonderful sponsors, we are able to make Christmas a little brighter. This is truly what the holiday season is all about.