Four mothers struggling with health, health of children need your help

12:00 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 Local
Qiling Wang
Nikki Jones listens to her 6-year-old daughter, Adeline, singing songs with a toy microphone at their South Austin home. Jones has common variable immune deficiency, which makes her very susceptible to contracting diseases. She has to take weekly infusions to help fight them off and is frequently tired and homebound. QILING WANG / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Adeline Jones stands in the living room of her South Austin home and gently takes her mother’s hand.

Together, they start to sing one of their favorite songs, Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away,” tentative at first and then with abandon.

Adeline, 6, wants to be a singer when she grows up, and her mom, Nikki Jones, is her biggest fan. Adeline is her mother’s biggest fan, too.

“She’s really special, and she’s pretty and, she’s superfun to snuggle with,” says Adeline.

Jones is the reason that Adeline feels safe, secure and cared for, and Adeline is the reason that Nikki gets up every morning and fights for her life.

In March 2016, Nikki was diagnosed with common variable immune deficiency, a rare disorder that makes those affected highly susceptible to life-threatening infections and leaves them with essentially no immune system.

The Jones family is part of the Statesman Season for Caring program. Every year, Season for Caring asks readers to make monetary donations as well as gifts of goods and services to help the 12 featured families first, but then also help other families served by local nonprofit agencies.

Some families’ needs get taken care of by Christmas; other families are still waiting for most of the items on their wish lists to be donated.

Still on Jones’ wish list is donations for a future education for Adeline; a playhouse or swing set; a backyard awning; foundation repair; a dishwasher; help with medical bills; food delivery service; gym membership; dance classes, gymnastics or martial arts classes for Adeline and gift cards. To donate an item on the list, contact Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org.​

Trisha Sherwood doesn’t like to complain. The 40-year-old single mom has multiple sclerosis; her son Alden, 16, is in a wheelchair after brain cancer; and younger son Jacob, 13, is on the autism spectrum.

“Most days are actually very frustrating,” she said. “There is always at least one point that gets overwhelming. If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry. And I prefer to laugh.”

The family’s biggest need is an accessible apartment. They also need an assistance dog; help with rent and utilities; grocery store gift cards; art therapy and equine therapy; clothing and gift cards to the movies or Game Stop. To help, contact Any Baby Can, 512-454-3743, anybabycan.org.

Most of Hawa Hassan’s day revolves around her children, particularly Haji, 9, who has muscular dystrophy and cannot walk. The refugee, who grew up in a camp in Kenya, wakes up at 5 a.m. to stretch Haji before she prepares breakfast and ushers daughters Sadiya, 11, and Fatuma, 6, along with Haji onto a school bus.

“The main thing is my children,” she said. She wants the kids to “learn how to be good and have respect for elders and have good manners,” she said.

Hassan still needs pots and pans and kitchen utensils; bedding; dressers; a coffee table; a TV stand; after-school tutoring for all the kids; a minivan with a wheelchair lift; driver’s education and everything for a new baby on the way. To help, contact Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org.

Last holiday season, the Negron family was asking neighbors for money to buy a casket to bury father Jose Luis Aguilar, who was killed in a car accident. This year, they are laughing again to keep everyone’s spirits up, but clouds of grief and worry linger for mother Mayra Negron Romero, 45.

Daughter Samanta, 25, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January. Son Luis, 10, has struggled with his father’s death. Daughter Mayleth, 18, wants to continue taking classes at Austin Community College, but might need to help support the family.

The family needs help with tuition assistance; help with household bills and health care expenses; a used car; repairs to their existing vehicle; a computer and a math tutor for Luis. To help, contact Foundation Communities, 512-610-7391, foundcom.org.

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