This isn’t one of my typical “inspiration” posts. I’m not even talking about stitching. I’m talking about a woman whose remarkable spirit uplifts everyone she meets. And she needs our help.
Remember this group photo from our Fork and Talk blogger meet-up last September? Front and center is Debbie Nelson. At that time, she was still battling a second bout of metastatic inflammatory breast cancer–as is evidenced by her trach and stylishly bald head. I am so happy to tell you that, beyond anyone’s expectations–especially her doctors’–Debbie is now cancer free. The bad news is that a few weeks ago, Debbie and her husband, Richard, watched their house burn to the ground in 15 minutes. They lost everything. They had no insurance. Their friends and community rallied round, meeting their immediate medical needs and supplying them with basic clothing and necessities. And efforts continue to raise funds to provide them a place to live. About 30% of the costs have been raised to get them a mobile home with a wheelchair ramp.
This is just the latest in a 10-year run of challenges and tragedies for Debbie and Richard that would have defeated most of us. But Richard says, “We have so much to be thankful for.” And Debbie’s bywords are, “God is good. And he is good all the time.” Today as always, Debbie focuses her energy on helping and encouraging others. In fact, she’s known as “the card lady” because, even when she was in the hospital or housebound, she spent time nearly every day handcrafting greeting cards and then using them to express thanks to anyone who had helped her, celebration to anyone passing a milestone, or loving support to anyone who was struggling, particularly other women with breast cancer. Like everything else, Debbie’s stash of craft supplies was destroyed by the fire.
I hope you will read or watch the feature story that aired on local television yesterday to get to know Debbie a little better. Then, please consider making a donation to the Nelson Fire Fund to help provide Debbie and Richard with a home. Or send a craft-store gift card to me, and I will deliver it to Debbie for you. Or do both!
Debbie Nelson is a precious personal friend of the four CraftGossip editors who live in Arkansas. But even if she were a stranger, she’s the kind of woman I want to support. She’s the kind of woman I want to be.
Updated 2/16/12, 12:05 a.m.: You can donate via PayPal by logging into your account and using the “Send Money” tab to send an amount to NelsonFireFund@yahoo.com. Or you can mail donations to Nelson Fire Fund, Fellowship North Church, 1 East 52nd Place, North Little Rock, AR 72116, USA.
Craft-store chains in our area are Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn. Please send gift cards for craft supplies to Denise Felton, 54 Garden Oaks Drive, Maumelle, AR 72113, USA. I’ll post photos when I deliver the cards to Debbie.
By Denise Felton