By all accounts, Elsa and her husband, Ernest, have endured a really bad year of financial struggle, sickness and sorrow.
Elsa, 30, was injured in early 2017 in an auto accident on Interstate 20 when her truck was rear-ended. Her damaged knee required extensive surgery in May.
“I thought it was just soreness,” she explained, “but it turned out to have torn ligaments in the back of my knee.” The long recovery from reconstructive surgery was ongoing when another health crisis occurred.
When the Fort Worth mother applied for Goodfellows help for her son, 8, and daughter, 6, in September, she had been placed on bed rest by her doctor for the duration of a high-risk pregnancy. She lost her job once her protection from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act ran out.
Never miss a local story.
Sadly, Elsa’s pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. “I almost lost my life, too,” Elsa said. “They couldn’t stabilize my fever, my blood pressure.” A placental infection had spread to Elsa’s own bloodstream.
The loss of the child, a boy, affected everyone in the family.
“My son took it the hardest,” she said. “He was so excited because he really wanted a baby brother.
“It was difficult, but the fact that we were able to bury our baby and the children were able to be present for it helped,” Elsa said.
Ernest had also lost his job by that time as he stayed home to tend to Elsa.
“My husband struggles to make ends meet because our expenses were forecast for two working parents and that’s no longer the case,” Elsa had written in her Goodfellows application before his job loss. “This program would make things a little easier for our holidays.”
Things are slowly turning around, Elsa said this week. Both she and her husband have started new jobs: his as a delivery driver for a commercial food distributor and hers in the admissions office of a hospital in North Richland Hills.
Her children are already wearing the new shoes that were purchased with their $50 J.C. Penney gift cards.
“I’m a believer in God, and thankfully God was there for me and my family,” Elsa said. “And there were great people like the Goodfellows and others to help us.”
Be a jolly Goodfellow
Since 1912, the Star-Telegram’s Goodfellow Fund has provided practical gifts for schoolchildren. Join this tradition by sending a contribution to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Or go online to goodfellowfund.org and make a secure credit card donation.