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Adopt A Stocking: After house burns down, family struggles with expenses

Dec. 19—LIMA — Life was going well for Lily and Ron when they moved to Lima from Twentynine Palms, California, for better opportunities for their family until Aug. 26, when their house burned down along with most of their belongings.

Lily said the family, including kids Lucy and Ron, Jr., were having a movie night in the camper parked in their driveway — a family tradition — when a neighbor knocked on the door and delivered the news that their house was on fire. Since that day and while living in the same camper, Lily said the family has suffered setback after setback.

Lucy, 17, has neurofibromatosis type 1, which causes tumors to grow in various parts of her body. A tumor sits on her optic nerve, which caused her to become blind in her left eye. She is now also starting to lose vision in the right eye.

The family has access to more doctors in Ohio, but Lily said she is afraid that if the family doesn't rebuild their home soon — before Lucy becomes completely blind — the girl will have a really difficult time getting around the house. Lily said the family is hoping for an insurance payment after a fire investigation is completed and the fire department figures out the cause of the blaze. She said they loved their home and would prefer to rebuild on the same lot instead of moving somewhere new.

Lily said the family is struggling in only 28 feet of space, but is making the best out of a bad situation.

"We have everything that you need to be able to survive on, and prayers and love," Lily said.

Lily's is one of the many who will be profiled through Christmas Day this year with the Adopt A Stocking program, run through the Salvation Army in partnership with The Lima News. Donations to the program help bring a better holiday to the families featured in these stories.

Participating families are normally referred to with pseudonyms to protect their identities.

Lily said the family is struggling to pay bills and for gas for Lucy's medical appointments in Dayton, even with both Lily and Ron working. She said gas cards would be a huge help.

The family wants to spend time together at home and decorate for Christmas, and they need a Christmas tree to do so. Lily said a tabletop tree of any color with colorful lights and ornaments would bring the family joy.

Lily said the family needs winter items to prepare for the cold, but doesn't have a lot of space for a lot of clothes. They could use gloves, sweaters, winter hats, jackets and thermal underwear.

Ron Jr., 3, wears a 5T and an 8 in kids' shoes. He loves anything dinosaur-related and is not picky about colors.

Ron Jr. would also appreciate dinosaur toys and blankets.

Lucy likes large and X-large sweaters, and wears a size 6 shoe. She loves bright pink.

Lily likes X-large sweaters and large or X-large for other clothing items. She wears a size 8 shoe.

Ron wears a 1X in shirts and a 2XL in jackets. He wears a 10.5 shoe.

Lily said the family could use household items like toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, laundry soap, air fresheners, soft pillows and heated blankets.

Lily said the family is blessed that they are still alive after the fire and that "God is good."

"We just have to keep God in our lives, especially for Christmas," Lily said. "He's the reason for the season and even if we have nothing to give, we have each other."

The Adopt a Stocking Fund benefits families during the holiday season. Monetary donations can be given online at give.salvationarmy.org/stocking or via Adopt A Stocking; c/o The Salvation Army; P.O. Box 234, Lima, OH 45801. All material donations for a specific family should be dropped off at the Salvation Army, 614 E. Market St., Lima, and should include a copy of the article or the date the story appeared in The Lima News. See past stories at LimaOhio.com/tag/stocking.