Darnell and Melissa met in high school, fell in love and got married. Some would say the odds were stacked against them, but those people have been proven wrong. They've taken what life has to throw at them and, grounded in faith, been able to get through.
When they had their first daughter, Haley, she was born with something called "bladder extrophy". It meant many long days, nights and time spent at Children's Hospital. And surgeries.
Not many can understand the feeling of helplessness when you know your child has pain and you're unable to relieve it. Or, as a parent, grasping for hope when you see your child wheeled away out of your care on a gurney...surrendering them over to surgeons. And yet, that's what Darnell and Melissa have done.
When they had their youngest, Isaiah, they discovered that he learned and did things differently. Seeking answers they found one they would have liked not to have had: Isaiah is "autistic".
But diagnoses aside, their story carries another "label"...and that is "L-O-V-E." If anyone's been around them, it's evident that big brother Jeremiah is there for all his siblings and friends (kind of like his Dad!),and Savannah, the youngest girl, has a sweet heart of gold.
Darnell is the sole breadwinner and provider in this family. He's quite the crack-up too (I don't think I know a funnier person in my life!) And yet when I was at my absolute lowest point in my life, Darnell was there. That sums up the type of person and character he has.
On June 18th, Darnell was diagnosed with a high grade Sarcoma. He had surgery less than a week later. The doctor's wanted to be aggressive and get "it" before "it" could get Darnell. As soon as he was able, he then started radiation...
Melissa, his wife of 40 years (not really, but MAN, they've been together a LOOONNNGGG time!), has had to witness her Superman succumb to Kryptonite. She's asked questions. And she's done her fair share of worrying of course, because worry is normal. And she wasn't the only one worried because to a lot of people, Darnell IS Superman. We can't imagine the world without him. We need him.
How we can help
Now that you know the story of challenges, fear, heartbreak, worry, labels and L-O-V-E, I'm asking you to consider something. Consider putting on your cape next to Superman and his family and say, "We've got you COVERED!"
The greatest needs are financial at this point. Darnell has been weakened by Monday through Friday radiation treatments over the course of 7+ weeks . He's been out of work since June with only a few checks coming in that are a FRACTION of his income. And he has a family of 6 to consider providing for.
The wish list I came up with is not exhaustive, but will give you an idea of ways you can help. I understand that most of us aren't made of money, so please don't be scared by large numbers. I've included them as a guide to know what you'd be able to help with when you give. Give what you can and don't hold back. Superman and his family are counting on you.
- Tom Fredericks
- Jackie Martinez
- Benefit Friends
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