Bike, video games, makeup would lift ill mother's teens

Editor's note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need. The series continues daily until Wednesday.

Prayers for healing and some presents for her teenage children are the holiday wishes offered up by this ailing mother of three.

Karen has experienced a lifetime's worth of struggles in just the past year. She moved to Oregon to escape from an abusive relationship. She and her three kids spent time in a shelter before they were able to move into a one-bedroom apartment.

Two months ago, Karen found a lump in her breast and underwent surgery for a malignant tumor. Shortly after that, she found out that she also had lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.

She needs to start chemotherapy, but is putting it off until January so she isn't sick during the holidays. She also has cervical stenosis, a degenerative spine disorder, and is scheduled for another operation in February.

Karen is unable to work because of her medical problems, and she is struggling to pay the bills each month.

Karen says that her 14-year-old daughter would love a bike more than anything. Her 15-year-old son would like games for his PlayStation 2. And her 17-year-old daughter would love anything "girly," such as makeup, nail polish or fun jewelry. All three of the kids could really use some new clothing, so gift cards to stores that carry teen clothes such as Target or Old Navy would be appreciated.

When asked what would help her right now, Karen told Maslow Project staff members that she simply would like people to pray for her.

"She doesn't want to die and leave her kids alone," said Mary Knepp, Maslow Project program coordinator. If you can help this family, please call Mary at the Maslow Project at 541-608-6868, ext. 302.

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