Veterans group ‘adopts’ family of 8-year-old cancer patient
When Sheri Motzer-Jeffres of American Legion Post 138, in Hamilton, Ohio, saw the WCPO story on 8-year-old Naomi Short’s battle with brain cancer, she noticed something most others probably didn’t. An American flag with the letters “USMC” in Short’s living room indicated the the girl was the child of a Marine Corps veteran.
That’s when Motzer-Jeffres took action.
“We adopt families for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she told the station. “I knew we had room to adopt another family.”
Short’s story was tragic, as well as touching. The young girl, who would otherwise spend her days playing with unicorns and her American Girls doll Riley, has to deal with debilitating migraines that blank out her consciousness, a symptom of tumors attached to her brain and spinal cord.
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Short underwent a handful of brain surgeries in the first month following her diagnosis, WCPO reports, along with radiation treatments that will conclude shortly after Christmas 2019. Doctors place her chances of survival at around 30%, but the girl’s parents have no intention of giving up, and with the support of their community and Post 138, Short has a lot of friends other side.
The families on Post 138’s list receive deliveries of groceries, prepared meals, children’s gifts and adult necessities. The Post’s decision to add the Shorts to that list was backed by unanimous support.
“It was a no-brainer,” said member Kevin Childress. “We gotta do something like that. Her mom was a veteran, but that wouldn’t have even mattered. Even if she wasn’t, we’d still do it.”
Naomi was named grand junior marshal for the Post’s yearly tree-lighting ceremony, and will be receiving a special delivery of unicorn toys for Christmas.
“I just hope she feels all the love,” Childress said. “The caring that this whole community has for that little girl.”
The rest of the town of Hamilton is showing Naomi support, too. “Go blue for Naomi” signs have been posted on city streets, and local candle shop Petal and Wicks has been selling a chocolate-cake-scented candle designed by Naomi herself, with half the proceeds of all sales going to fund Naomi’s ongoing chemotherapy.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.