Kind Strangers Deliver Christmas Miracle For Widowed Father Of Seven

ryan.ford 11 Dec 2018

The holidays are usually a time for joy, but they can also serve as an awful reminder of happier times when tragedy strikes. Odds are, we have all known that terrible sting.

The real silver lining to it is that so many of us have known that terrible sting. The people who have experienced holidays without their loved ones understand how it feels, and they'll be there to help you through.

Dakota Nelson is facing his first Christmas without his wife, Ream.

GoFundMe | Summer Alameel

They were together for 17 years and had seven kids together. But, as East Idaho News reported, on an otherwise normal Wednesday in July, tragedy struck. The two were in the garage, and Dakota left to put some tools away. Five minutes later he returned to find Ream on the floor, turning blue.

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Dakota didn't know it at the time, but his seemingly healthy 38-year-old wife had suffered a heart attack.

GoFundMe | Summer Alameel

He started CPR, but by the time an ambulance got her to the hospital, doctors believed her brain had been without oxygen for 20 minutes. Ream never recovered. Three months later, with her husband and seven kids at her bedside, she passed away. Doctors still don't know what caused the heart attack.

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So Dakota is suddenly a single father with seven kids to raise, and working three part-time jobs.

GoFundMe | Summer Alameel

They range in age from 1–16, but if the outpouring of support they've been shown recently is any indication, Dakota is far from alone in this. Because he won't have Ream, and the kids won't have their mom, strangers from far and wide are trying to make their first Christmas without her as merry as possible.

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After an anonymous Secret Santa in Dakota's home state of Idaho asked East Idaho News to help them give away $250,000, they heard about Dakota's situation and wanted to help.

YouTube | East Idaho News

So, the station sent out a reporter to ambush Dakota and his family with a wonderful gift to help ease the holiday season's burdens: $2,000 worth of gift cards and a check for $8,000. Understandably, Dakota was overcome with emotion when presented with the gifts.

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It's an incredibly moving moment, seeing how much these gifts out of the blue are going to help him out.

YouTube | East Idaho News

And days later, after it had all started to sink in, he wrote a thank-you letter to the station that read, in part, "There is no way for me to accurately convey how grateful we are for this kindness. As I was surprised with the gifts, I looked at my kids – who will remember this event forever as the best time they had in a hard time. Thank you for being an example to my family on how to look out for the needs of others."

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What's more, Dakota's story and the kindness he'd been shown started to spread, inspiring others to help.

YouTube | East Idaho News

Ream's sister, Summer, had set up a GoFundMe account after her heart attack to help cover some of the medical costs. Since the story got out, strangers from far and wide have been donating whatever they can to help out Dakota and his family.

If that isn't a Christmas miracle, I don't know what is.

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