Thanks to J & R Vacuum & Sewing, many business sponsors, and all of you, we have our finalists for the 2016 Christmas With Us.

We received so many wonderful nominations over the past few weeks. Thank you to our judges, we have narrowed it down to the final 5. All are from the Bismarck-Mandan area and are deserving of an extra special gift this holiday season. Take a moment to read through the following five nominees then cast your vote!

Nominee One: 

My sister and her husband have 2 children. Ages 2 and 4. Right around their second child's 1st birthday, he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis 1 with optic gliomas. These tumors on his optic nerves caused him to go blind shortly thereafter. He was treated with chemotherapy, but to no avail, the tumors kept growing and spreading. Christmas last year was spent at the U of M Children's hospital for several weeks. He had fluid building up on his brain and needed surgery to place 2 shunts. There were complications during this surgery, so the shunts could not be placed. Several days later, they tried the surgery again and took biopsies of these tumors and they came back as fibrillary astrocytomas (Cancer). This was a devastating blow to the family. He was then accepted into a drug study being the only child under the age of 2 in the US at the time on this drug. Only 3 other kids his age were in the study thus far, all living in Europe. This drug seems to be working and are keeping the tumors at bay. He has spent plenty of time in hospitals throughout his life due to different complications of his diagnosis. His caretaker was just diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma causing her to resign as caretaker. With all of his appointments, scheduled and surprise, and the loss of his caregiver, his Mom had to quit her day job and start working some evenings and weekends to stay home with the boys. This past weekend, he had to be flown via air ambulance to the U of M due to more complications. I am taking care of his brother while my sister and husband are at this moment waiting to hear if he needs yet another brain surgery. All of the time in the hospital causes them to have to take time off unpaid since they have used up all of their PTO. Needless to say, they have a very stressful life and any help, they are so very grateful for.

Nominee Two:

Nominee two moved to Bismarck with her twin boys in July. She got married in September and their world fell apart. Her husband ended up in the hospital and lost his job. The family is made up of her twin boys along with her husband's boy. She works in the daycare at church. The husband recently started working for a guy that does some construction, this was a guy he met through church. So myself and my husband along with my daughter and her husband have been helping out as much as we can. We have been buying them food and winter supplies along with school supplies. The older boys get lunch at school, but the little one does not. So I have been making payments to the school for his. It would be a blessing for Christmas to be a happy one for them. Thank you for considering them.

Nominee Three: 

Nominee three has two daughters. 1 in college and 1 in high school. They are also foster parents and have parented over 10 children since agreeing to be foster parents 4-5 years ago. Nominee (M) is currently going back to college to become a science teacher and Nominee (F) runs a daycare that was desperately needed in our community. They currently have three foster children right now as well. Nominee also drives to Bismarck every other weekend to work for Pride taking care of people who need adult supervision in a group home. They even took in a family of 5 children on the weekends.This family has tremendous compassion to help others in need. They have even helped some young mothers by buying things they need for their families. They are not wealthy and struggle meeting their own bills but never hesitate when others are in need. They have faith that God will provide. I would love to see them be appreciated for all they do for others. Money is tight for them this year. Nominee (F) is the primary income earner and has some daycare kids only part time instead of full because the children were allowed to attend head start. She will not charge the parents for those days the kids are not at her daycare because she feels the parents can't afford that. In reality she can't afford to have empty daycare slots but she does it for the sake of those families. I would sincerely appreciate if they could receive a prize to recognize their well deserving recognition. They are an inspiration to others in their community and church!

Nominee Four:

I nominate my wife and 3 children. I'm having a risky surgery done and being sick for the past few months has definitely made it very hard on my family. My wife is the strongest and most supporting woman I know. My older 2 kids are from a previous relationship and she stepped up since day one to be there for them. There is a chance with this surgery that the holiday season will be a sad one for my family and I don't want that for them. I've been struggling for months now just to pay rent and keep our lights on. I love all of them and just want something nice to happen to them for once. They deserve it.

Nominee Five:

Nominee Five is 30 weeks pregnant. She was recently diagnosed with a cancerous glioblastoma brain tumor grade 4 and went through emergency brain surgery. She has been traveling each week to the Mayo Clinic for 9 weeks of brain radiation and will begin chemotherapy in Bismarck as soon as her baby girl is born. She is unable to work now and also cannot drive due to the seizures that she had before surgery. She also has a daughter in high school. We all want them to have a very special Christmas this year as it may be her last with her family.

These five nominations were chosen from the many sent to us by a panel of judges. Now it’s your time to vote! Voting begins on Saturday, December 10th and will en on Sunday, December 19th.