Sarah*, a mother of two sons, is taking care of her father who has lung and kidney cancer that keeps spreading.

Her father, David, is a Marine Corps veteran and got cancer from Agent Orange in Vietnam, according to a letter Sarah wrote to Valley Santa. The nonprofit organization, purchases toys for needy children throughout Luzerne County for the holidays. The program is sponsored by The Citizens’ Voice and Standard-Speaker newspapers, Boscov’s Department Store, M&T Bank and the City of Wilkes-Barre. Valley Santa accepts monetary donations from the community and uses the funds to purchase new toys for local children whose families need help during the holiday season. The stories published here daily between now and Christmas are based on actual letters received from families seeking assistance.

Two weeks ago, Sarah’s father’s doctor told her that the cancer spread to his liver and cannot be removed and no more chemotherapy is available for him.

“He has tried every kind and it’s not agreeing with him,” Sarah wrote. “He gets hospitalized every time.”

The doctor also told Sarah that her father has one year left to live at the rate the cancer is spreading.

Her father pays the bills so she could stay home with him, take him to his appointments, cook, clean and care for him and her two boys.

“We are all very close,” Sarah wrote. “This may be our last Christmas together. I would love to make this holiday as easy as possible for my dad since he is the one who always helps me with money.”

Sarah asked for Valley Santa’s help in providing Christmas gifts for her 12-year-old son Jacob and her 9-year-old son Josh.


“We really need help this year,” Sarah wrote.

Valley Santa relies on donations to purchase Christmas gifts for children in need like Jacob and Josh. Everyone is encouraged to donate to Valley Santa to make sure they have gifts to open on Christmas morning.

To give

Send a check or money order to The Valley Santa Fund Inc., P.O. Box 5276, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711. Checks should be made payable to The Valley Santa Fund Inc. Visit to donate via PayPal. All donations are tax deductible. Monetary donations also will be accepted at any M&T Bank branch in the Wyoming Valley. Because Santa has no workshop or warehouse space, no new or used toys can be accepted.

Donors’ names will be published in The Citizens’ Voice and Standard-Speaker.


To request

Write a letter in care of Valley Santa, P.O. Box 5268, WilkesBarre, PA 18711. Explain the need that exists in as much detail as possible. You must include your name, ages and genders of your children, your full address, zip code and telephone number. The letter must be co-signed by a clergy member, social worker, school personnel or health care personnel and must include their name, address and telephone number for
confirmation purposes. Requests will be considered for children 12 years of age and younger. Requests must be postmarked by Dec. 15. No telephone requests will be accepted.


To volunteer

Call Help Line: 570-829-1341


*Names of the letter writers have been changed to protect anonymity of families.