LIMA — Things went from bad to worse for Keyshae in 2012.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March,” she said. “I had to go to the hospital for a while and I ended up losing a really good job that I had that was taking care of me and the kids while going through chemo and radiation. We also lost our place where we were staying. So now my three kids and I are just going around from house to house.”
Keyshae and her three children, Emmonii, 12, Amari, 8, and Xavier, 7, currently live with a friend while Keyshae looks for work. With the children’s father in prison, there is no current means of support for the family, which means that Keyshae cannot help her friend with rent.
“I get food stamps but that’s it,” Keyshae said. “I don’t get anything else. I’ve been trying to do some small jobs for my mom or doing hair and nails to save money, but I’d rather have a job to be able to pay rent.”
Also living without a vehicle, looking for work, as well as ensuring transportation for her children is extremely difficult.
“In the mornings I walk my kids to school from here, and it takes about 25 minutes,” she said.
For Keyshae, Christmas is a stressful time because she does not have the means to provide a memorable holiday for her family.
“We have a Christmas tree, but there are parts missing because we got different parts from different people,” she said. “We still need a top part.”
Keyshae’s children have the same Christmas lists as other kids, filled with items like an XBox or anything with Hello Kitty on it, but Keyshae knows that her children have needs that must be met before moving on to nonessentials.
“They need clothes and shoes,” she said. “They wear Dollar General shoes, but they tear up so fast. I try to tell them it’s not about getting gifts. But I do want my kids to have a good Christmas.”
Emmonii wears a junior size 14 pants, an extra large shirt and women’s size 9 shoes. Amari wears a junior size 9 pants, a medium shirt and women’s size 8 and a half shoes. Xavier wears a boys size 8 or 9 pants, a boys medium shirt and a boys size 4 and a half shoes.
“I just had to put duct tape on his shoes to fix a hole,” Keyshae said.
Until things turn around, Keyshae tries to focus on the positives in her life.
“Every morning, I just wake up and thank God I get to be here for another day,” she said.
The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies, Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Federal Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy.