This year Mason Dixon's Christmas Wish Fund — a nonprofit charity the popular Tampa-area radio personality founded two decades ago with his wife, Patricia Crawford — will receive hundreds of requests from families in need. The charity directly distributes gifts of cash, toys or certificates to recipients in time for Christmas.
Through the holidays, The Tampa Tribune will run some of the letters the Wish Fund receives in the Baylife section along with information on how to help.
Here are two of the many requests:
To the Mason Dixon Christmas Wish Team,
Thank you for your consideration, as I know there are many deserving families. I am a newly single mother to a wonderful 2-year-old. My husband and I were married for five years before we were able to have her; we were so happy when she was born.
Unfortunately after the birth, my husband began to change. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and although we tried therapy, he gave up and decided he no longer wanted the full-time responsibility of fatherhood.
During this time, I was disowned by my father for not immediately leaving my husband and instead trying therapy. In March of this year, our daughter was diagnosed as developmentally delayed. She was neither walking nor talking. I left my job of 10 years and pulled out my small retirement savings in order to work with her. I am delighted to say she is catching up wonderfully. She now knows her ABC's, counts to 20, knows her colors and shapes, and knows several animals and their sounds
She has tackled so many obstacles and may soon be checked out for tubes to help with her frequent ear infections and pronunciation problems.
I recently began working again, and her father has moved out of state. DCF does not touch child support until a judge has finalized the divorce, which has not been filed as I cannot find a lawyer and am attempting to file myself. Her father is apparently experiencing hard times as well.
I just want my little girl to have some kind of Christmas, and I am hoping you can help me give that to her.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
My family story started four years ago, when I married the man who was meant just for me. On our wedding day, we took home a new combined family with nine kids. Four weeks later, we learned that No. 10 was on the way. He was the completion of our family.
Little did we know that he would be born with congenital heart defects. Hospital stays, doctor appointments, then open-heart surgery for our 1-year-old son was not how we planned to spend our newlywed years.
Through all of this, the other nine kids stayed strong and worked together to make our house a home. They continue to take up the slack while I work full time, and they help their dad with his business, too. I couldn't do it without them.
The thing that weighs heavy on my heart is that I can't give back to them what they deserve. With the everyday bills and the medical bills that continue to stack up, we are just able to get by. While we spend lots of quality time doing things together as a family, there are other things a mom desires for her kids. This may sound silly to most, but my wish this year is that all of my children have new shoes for Christmas. They almost always have to wear second-hand clothes and shoes — and they NEVER complain! They share rooms and toys, yet they NEVER complain! So, if you could help me with a new pair of shoes for each of them, I would really be thankful.
Whether my family is chosen or not, I am thankful for the good work you do for so many people. You've made an impact on many lives and I pray that each of those people will pass it along to others. May God bless you in your efforts.