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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Monday, May 27, 2002


Volunteers sought to fill
in as ‘Christmas Card Lady’

Anyone or any group willing to become the new "Christmas Card Lady"?

That's what Cindy Delgado is looking for.

One of "Kokua Line's" most frequently asked questions is, Where can people send their used Christmas cards?

For years the answer was to Helen Daniels, the "Christmas Card Lady" of Kailua.

Daniels received millions of cards, turning them into picture books for hospitalized children each Christmas. She even wrote the poems she made to go along with the special books.

But in 1997, 79 and ailing, Daniels had to give up her "labor of love." A couple of women stepped forward to continue her voluntary project, with Delgado, then the mother of two sons, sticking with the time-consuming and, what turned out for the other woman, overwhelming effort.

Daniels died in June 2000 at the age of 82.

In January 2001, Delgado called to tell us she was expecting a third child and the family was moving, so she needed to take a break from making the Christmas books.

She said then that she had hoped to resume the project in time for Christmas 2002. People kept sending her cards, and faithful volunteers like Ellen Morishita continued to trim them for her.

However, Delgado said her 5-year-old middle son, Charlie, who was a baby when she became the "Christmas Card Lady," was diagnosed in April with cystic fibrosis.

It's a disease that is usually detected at birth. In fact, "all the symptoms were there his whole life," Delgado said, but it was only after he caught pneumonia that the diagnosis finally was made.

"His prognosis is good," she said, and the family is hopeful that with continuing research, Charlie will be able to lead a long life, and "maybe they will be able to come up with a cure."

In the meantime, "our lives are filled with medication and treatment. It's a lot of hands on," she said. Plus, "you're trying to deal with your emotions, and the baby (Justin) is now 15 months old. So it's been quite life-changing."

Delgado and her husband, Carlos, also have a 12-year-old son, Vince, who has helped put together the Christmas books.

With her days now focused on family, Delgado is hoping that someone else will take on the year-round project.

She warns that it is a big task and does require a lot of time, so someone who is retired or isn't employed or, even better, a group of people, would be best. Delgado estimates she was devoting a few hours a day to the project.

Also, because a lot of people will be sending a lot of cards, whoever takes over will need to have storage space. Delgado last donated 25 26-page books to Shriner's Hospital and 11 to Ronald McDonald House, but she said whoever takes over could tailor the project to their schedule and situation.

She also has many cards already cut, and Morishita is willing to continue helping out. She said she will help her successor(s) get started and is willing to let them use her original poems.

Interested? If so, call "Kokua Line" at 529-4773 and leave a message, or e-mail kokualine@starbulletin.com. We'll put you in contact with Delgado.

Mahalo

To Mel Sumida, who lives in Hawaii Kai and works at Hawaiian Airlines, who found my purse and returned it to me. There are angels out there. -- Debbie





Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
E-mail to kokualine@starbulletin.com




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