Thanks to the Bismarck-Mandan community, we have our final nominees for '35 Days of Giving.'

We received so many wonderful nominations over the past five weeks. Our judges have narrowed it down to the final five. 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 nominees and cast your vote beginning Saturday, November 25th.

Nominee One:

Nominee #1 is a hard working mother who has a disabled son and a troubled daughter who struggles daily with bills and life itself. She is wonderful to all she meets with a smile and not a tear, although she should/could just be in a ball in the corner with all that life throws her way. She struggles daily with bills and just making enough to keep them afloat. She deserves a break for at least a bit so I think she is the one who should receive a gift from you.

Nominee Two:

This family has gone through hell and back. The wife lost her sister suddenly and then she got pregnant. Her son was born with no ear canals, mild spina bifida, cognitive delays, speech delays, and physical delays. Their son has had over 7 surgeries, the husband also has hearing loss and had surgery this year to try and help improve his hearing. The wife lost her job in January and has been home taking care of the kids and her in-laws who needed some help with medical issues and then had to sell their house. The family has three kids but lost a baby at three months. The oldest helps at church and helps little kids. The middle child also helps by ringing bells at Salvation Army and has helped fill sandbags for those in need. The youngest just loves to bring smiles to anyone who needs it. The mom will be having surgery before Christmas due to some medical issues. The father will be laid off from work and will be taking care of the wife. Things will be super tight for this family. They always help those in need even when they don't have enough themselves. They believe that all anyone ever needs is a caring person to help bring you back. This family pays it forward as much as possible.

Nominee #3:

Nominee #3 is a 4th grader and one of my students. In the past few years, her father has committed suicide, her mother has gone through abusive relationships, and more recently, her grandmother passed away. She's very creative, caring and a total sweetheart who works so hard in school, but goes home to very little help or support. Our school has held small food drives to assist the family in this time of need, but that only goes so far. I am happy to nominate her and her family.

Nominee #4

I would like to nominate this family. A year ago, their son was diagnosed with a childhood cancer that affects males more than females and has a high rate of return. If you met him, you would be amazed at how he has dealt with this. The only thing he wants to do is continue to go to school. The cancer was significant and at one point, his treatments took away his ability to walk. He went to physical therapy and gained it back with a smile on his face. When he couldn't play football he took up golf and throughout it all he has inspired others. His parents are both teachers and he has siblings that have severe food allergies so it has been difficult for them to juggle expenses. This summer the doctors said he was cancer free, but just a few months later they said he had a large tumor. He just started very strong chemo. The first day he received three doses, which put him in the hospital for a week. The biopsy that they had to do was significant because they had to go through both the back and the stomach. Through it all he has been an inspiration to everyone, holding everyone up with his amazing attitude and smile. The doctors have said things like a '2% chance of survival' and '4 weeks to live' but we are believing in a miracle and that he will live! In the meantime, medical expenses have added up and his parents have had to miss work. On top of that, their dryer stopped working last week. I would love to bless them with this gift because they have blessed so many others with the way they have walked through this.

Nominee #5:

Nominee #5 is a 34-year-old single mother to a 12-year-old girl. She was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease shortly after she had gastric bypass at age 19. What she should eat with Crohn's, she cannot absorb from the bypass and vice versa. She had her daughter in 2005. She was born at 26 weeks at 1 lb 9 oz with not much chance of survival. After 3 months in the NICU, she was air lifted to Minneapolis with a staph infection. She was treated and given a colostomy bag because of a kink in her intestine. She has recovered and grown into a beautiful, smart young lady. Her mother, on the other hand, developed Leukemia, Bone and Blood cancer. She was treated in Rochester with not much luck because of her other medical issues. They have nothing but each other and their therapy cats. The cats need to be fixed. She has to beg people for rides to appointments for her and her daughter and even to get groceries. I pray every day that somehow life will get easier for these two girls who love each other so dearly, but it only seems to get more tough.

These families have already received a gift from our amazing sponsors, but one will receive the Grand Gift along with the money collected from the Food Donation Bags sold at Cash Wise Foods.

Voting will begin on Saturday, November 25th and will run through Sunday, December 3rd. You can vote every three hours!


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