‘Kris’ sits in front of a shrine with a statue of Jesus in her Hawkins County home recently. Photo by David Grace.
CHURCH HILL — A Hawkins County couple and their 8-year-old son each have serious medical conditions, and with bills constantly piling up there wouldn’t be much of a Christmas for them this year without the Times-News Rescue Fund.
Kris and Gary S., who live just outside of Church Hill, are both in their 50s and have several grown children out of the house. Their last remaining child at home is an 8-year-old boy who was born with cancer, without an immune system, and has extreme allergy problems.
Kris is in need of two knee replacements, a hip replacement, and suffers severe back pain.
Gary has a number of health problems, but at the forefront for him now is a mass on his brain discovered in a recent MRI exam which has yet to be diagnosed.
It’s causing a lot of pain and burning around his eyes and facial area, and he’s seeing specialists from outside of this region which means a lot of travel expenses and extra doctor co-pays.
“We’re on a set income and we just get Social Security disability, and by the time we pay on all the medications and doctor visits, and the gasoline going back and forth to the doctors for the three of us, we’re just barely scraping by,” Kris said. “They’re trying to figure out my husband’s medicines, trying to find something that will help him because he burns up and he doesn’t have any energy. If he eats he gets sick , and if he don’t eat he gets sick.”
Kris added, “He wants to get up and do things, but if he overdoes it, he’ll be laid up in the bed for a week recuperating. It’s frustrating because we don’t know what’s wrong, and we don’t know how to make him better. ”
Despite her son’s illnesses, Kris says he’s a typical boy and he loves to play.
She said you’d never know how sick he is by his outward appearance, but his activities are very limited due to his allergies and lack of an immune system.
It’s too risky to let him run and play outside with other children.
That’s why Christmas is such an important holiday for the family.
It’s the only time of the year for their son to get new toys to play with.
This year Kris and Gary will be able to provide their son with a good Christmas thanks to the Times-News Rescue Fund.
Kris began to cry as she described what Christmas would be like for her family if it wasn’t for the program.
“If we didn’t have that program it would really be bad,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to hardly buy anything. It takes every penny we’ve got to pay for all the doctors and running to see the doctors, and the medicine. There’s nothing more important than your health, but it can break your heart knowing there isn’t enough money left over to make Christmas special for your child.”
Last year, generous readers provided about $60,000 to the Rescue Fund for food vouchers distributed to needy individuals and/or families across the six-county area. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Times-News Rescue Fund at P.O. Box 479, Kingsport, TN 37662.