Adopt a Stocking: Medical troubles, family trauma a tough start for marriage

LIMA — Michelle and Jerome’s marriage has been filled with many trials: First there was the death of Michelle’s father, who was murdered 22 days after giving Michelle away on her wedding day.

Then Jerome, who suffered from three strokes before the couple’s second anniversary, significantly impairing his ability to walk, was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Then there was the fourth stroke, and the surgeries.

The couple are now raising two of Michelle’s granddaughters, one of whom suffers from post-traumatic stress after witnessing the death of Michelle’s father, while Michelle’s daughter undergoes rehabilitation in Dayton — all within their first four years of marriage.

“I’m trying to do what’s best for (my granddaughters) while their mother gets situated,” Michelle said.

Michelle and Jerome, whose names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy, are one of the hundreds of families who registered for the Salvation Army’s Adopt a Stocking Fund, which supports needy families each Christmas.

Raising two young girls — again — while caring for her husband has been hard on Michelle, who says her house has started to resemble a hospital.

But Michelle is practical, and only wants the things that will keep her family safe: a walk-in shower and a medical ramp leading to their front door so Jerome doesn’t fall, a possibility which worries Michelle constantly now that Jerome relies on a walker to get around.

The family needs new dressers for the girls, ages 2 and 8, so the house feels less “claustrophobic,” as Michelle calls it; sleepwear for the youngest, who wears size 3T; and winter boots for both girls, sizes 8T and girl’s 2.

Michelle and Jerome are also wishing for a full-sized bed so Jerome no longer has to sleep on a medical bed, which hurts his back, and some help with maintenance work around the home to correct the electrical wiring and other fire hazards they can’t afford to fix on their own.

The Adopt a Stocking Fund benefits families during the holiday season. Monetary donations can be given online at or via Adopt A Stocking; c/o The Salvation Army; P.O. Box 234, Lima, OH 45801. All material donations for a specific family should be dropped off at the Salvation Army, 614 E. Market St., Lima, and should include a copy of the article or the date the story appeared in The Lima News. See past stories at