Where are they now? Noheli family

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This year Issa Noheli, 63, received something he had dreamed about: a prosthetic leg. He lost his leg 20 years ago in an attack on his Rwandan refugee camp. He is working with a physical therapist to learn how to walk better with his new leg.

March, he received his first-ever prosthetic leg from the Hanger Clinic paid for by Season for Caring donations. Noheli tries out his new leg with the help of prosthetist Jennifer Marchel. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Noheli and his family were part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

This year, Noheli’s oldest daughters were able to move out of the apartment and start their own lives. One got married. Noheli’s younger children are still in school.

Noheli attends English as a second language classes regularly.

Lubna Zeidan, who works with the family on behalf of Interfaith Action of Central Texas, got to see how much of a difference Season for Caring was able to make. She remembers he came to a class, “he was standing, waiting for us to notice that he had two legs,” she says. “The pride on his face … to have that dream fulfilled.”

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

 

Where are they now? Terry Markland

Terry Markland, 66, broke his feet in a work-related accident 30 years before and was no longer able to walk. National Seating and Mobility donated an electric wheelchair to Markland.

Terry Markland tries out his new power chair, donated by Britt Sitzes, branch manager of National Seating and Mobility. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman

Markland was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

“It’s opened up a life for me,” he says of the wheelchair and Season for Caring. “I was homebound. I couldn’t get my mail or see anyone. It allows me to be sociable. I can ride it around the neighborhood.”

The chair and knowing that people cared about him, he says, “takes me out of my depression.”

Season for Caring, he says, “really helped me out. … It’s a world of difference.”

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

 

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Aimee Shaw

Jared Shaw, left, plays the harmonica, as his brother, Justin Cassiday, right, listens at the Shaw home in Hutto.  Their mom has had breast cancer for 12 years. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Jared Shaw, left, plays the harmonica, as his brother, Justin Cassiday, right, listens at the Shaw home in Hutto. Their mom has had breast cancer for 13 years. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Aimee Shaw and her family know that had it not been for Season for Caring, they would have lost their house and been homeless.

Shaw, 44, has stage 4 breast cancer. Her oldest son, Justin Cassiday, 27, who has post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the Army, has finished his time in the Reserves and is trying to get disability. Cassiday and his wife, Brittany, had a son, Theodore, in June. Shaw’s son Jared, 21, who has autism, has had several seizures this fall.

Season for Caring, Shaw says, kept them afloat, especially after husband Al Shaw, 42, was laid off in March. Though he has a Master of Business Administration, he has not found a permanent job. He is supporting the family by mowing lawns and working a temporary on-call job.

Season for Caring “kept us in our house,” she says. “And we’re thankful for that.”

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of Aimee Shaw before the campaign began, here.

On Sunday, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families. All this week we’re catching up with last year’s families. Find more at Statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Juana Ramirez

Juana Ramirez and her children Stephanie and Marcus will get the help they need through your donations. Laura Skelding/American-Statesman
Juana Ramirez and her children Stephanie and Marcus got many things they needed through Season for Caring last year. Laura Skelding/American-Statesman

Juana Ramirez, 30, who had been struggling with homelessness, has been working at a call center. She and her two children recently moved in with her mother after their rent went up. “She just looked happy,” says Rebecca Staffon, care coordinator for Communities In Schools.

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of Juana before the campaign began, here.

And watch as she receives new beds from Factory Mattress.

On Sunday, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families. All this week we’re catching up with last year’s families. Find more at Statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Rosa Lee Pennick

 

Rosa Lee Pennick, 85, is a home caregiver for three other women. Pennick rests on the couch that she uses as a bed every night. She needs one of the rooms in her home to be converted into a bedroom for her. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Rosa Lee Pennick, 86, is a home caregiver for three other women. Last year, Pennick rests on the couch that she uses as a bed every night. Now she has a bed.
LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Rosa Lee Pennick, 86, says, “I’m still in the care business, until I can’t do it anymore.” She’s still caring for two women in her house. Her sister-in-law, Rosemary Kindred, died this year, a month shy of 102.

One of the things Pennick is most grateful for is the new wood floors in her house instead of the old carpet. “The house smells so much better,” she says. She was afraid that people were walking in and smelling that dirty carpet, she says.

Work continues on turning a dining room into a bedroom for her, but she no longer has to sleep on the couch.

“I just don’t have the words to cover it all,” Pennick says about Season for Caring. “It brings tears of joy to my eyes. I look up to God and I say … ‘Lord, you really blessed us.’

“I felt the love and care that our people still have. We still have people like this.”

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of Rosa Lee Pennick before the campaign began, here.

On Sunday, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families. All this week we’re catching up with last year’s families. Find more at Statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Sherra Parten

During the Memorial Day floods, Sherra Parten was living in C.M. Allen Homes, a public housing project in San Marcos. After the floods, her home was uninhabitable. In June, Parten was able to move into a mobile home in San Marcos, where she now lives with her 33-year-old daughter, Julie Payne and Payne's daughter, Amanda, 3. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.
During the 2015 Memorial Day floods, Sherra Parten was living in C.M. Allen Homes, a public housing project in San Marcos. After the floods, her home was uninhabitable. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.

Sherra Parten, 57 who lost her San Marcos home in a flood, has been able to do more with her cake decorating business with Season for Caring money that bought her a freezer and with mentorship from professional cake decorator Janette Pfertner.

Her agency, Community Action Inc., is working with her on a plan to set up a fund to take care of granddaughter Amanda, 4, who’s mother, Julie Payne, 35, has intellectual differences.

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of Sherra Parten before the campaign began, here.

On Sunday, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families. All this week we’re catching up with last year’s families. Find more at Statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Tabitha McGee

Tabitha McGee, 42, has had breast cancer for four years. She is an Army veteran and now works with special education students. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman
Tabitha McGee, 43, has had breast cancer for five years, but it is now in remission. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman

Tabitha McGee’s best news is that her breast cancer is in remission. Both of her daughters are going to school at the University of North Texas in Denton. McGee, 43, is working as a substitute teacher in the Round Rock School District and still trying to get disability for her asthma, which she is struggling with right now.

Season for Caring, she says, “helped put me at ease.” She was able to catch up on mortgage payments and car payments. “It took a lot of stress off. I could focus on getting healthy.”

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of the McGee family before Season for Caring, here.

On Sunday, Nov. 27, we’ll introduce you to a dozen new families. All this week you can learn how the 2015 Season for Caring families are doing.

Read all the stories and make a donation at statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Siriro Hakizimana

Siriro Hakizimana received a 2004 Dodge Durango from Christian Brothers Automotive last May. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Siriro Hakizimana received a 2004 Dodge Durango from Christian Brothers Automotive last May. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Last year, Siriro Hakizimana, 33, his wife, Clotilde Intirampeba, 30, and their five children had their first big American Christmas after living in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Readers and Gensler architects’ Austin office adopted the family and filled their apartment with gifts. One of the family’s biggest challenges was getting to and from their jobs at downtown hotels. Hakizimana would ride a bike eight miles in the middle of the night.

Season for Caring helped Hakizimana learn how to drive, and Christian Brothers Automotive found and fixed a car for him to drive.

Last July, the family moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to be closer to relatives, who had an extra house for them to live in. On Sept. 20, they welcomed a new baby, Mathias, who has undergone heart surgeries and is still in the hospital.

Hakizimana and Intirampeba have not found jobs yet in Iowa, but Hakizimana is taking a course to become an auto mechanic. About Season for Caring, Hakizimana told Caritas, the agency that nominated him: “I thank my God for what He did.”

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of the Hakizimana family before Season for Caring, here.

Watch a video of Siriro Hakizimana receiving his car and the family receiving gifts from Gensler architects.

On Sunday, Nov. 27, we’ll introduce you to a dozen new families. All this week you can learn how the 2015 Season for Caring families are doing.

Read all the stories and make a donation at statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Guess family

use for ad teases: Season for Caring: Kylie Guess loves to read. The Guess Family has multiple medical concerns. Dad, Shawn Guess has a brain tumor, mom, Megan Shaw has Common Variable Immuno-Deficiency, daughter Kylie, 9, has juvenile arthritis, and son Carl, 3, has a speech delay.  LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Kylie Guess loves to read. The Guess Family has multiple medical concerns. Dad, Shawn Guess has a brain tumor, mom, Megan Shaw has Common Variable Immune Deficiency, daughter Kylie, 10, has juvenile arthritis, and son Carl, 4, has a speech delay. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Guess family lives with medical struggles that can’t be fixed by one Season for Caring campaign, including Shawn Guess’ brain tumor, Megan Guess’ common variable immune deviciency, and daughter Kylie’s asthma and juvenile arthritis. Right now, both Megan, 35, and Kylie, 10, are struggling with their illnesses, Shawn Guess, 40, says. “It’s been as good as it can be,” he says. “There are a few bumps in the road.”

One good thing is Guess says he believes that his case to get disability will soon be resolved.

Season for Caring was “an answer to our prayer for us,” he says. They were able to pay many past medical bills. “We couldn’t even dream of something that great,” he says. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us.”

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of the Guess family before Season for Caring, here.

Watch a video of Grisham Middle-schoolers wrapping presents for the Guess family.

On Sunday, Nov. 27, we’ll introduce you to a dozen new families. All this week you can learn how the 2015 Season for Caring families are doing.

Read all the stories and make a donation at statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Season for Caring: Where are they now? Mia Garcia

Mia Garcia was the guest of honor and chosen to turn on the lights at the annual Driskill Hotel Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Tuesday night December 1, 2015. Mia is part of the American-Statesman's Season for Caring 2015 campaign and the Driskill has chosen to be part of the fundraising efforts.  RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Mia Garcia was the guest of honor and chosen to turn on the lights at the annual Driskill Hotel Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony last year. 
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Mia Garcia, 9, has completed chemo for Langerhans cell histiocytosis, which was in her eye and neck. One of the family’s wishes was for an immigration attorney for father Gerardo Garcia-Arteaga, 38. Season for Caring funds have helped with that process and the family expects his case will be completed soon.

Mom Brittany Hernandez had a health issue this fall, but is now back at work. Season for Caring funds helped them get through that and also get through a rise in their rent.

Season for Caring is the Statesman’s holiday charity program, but the donations help families throughout the year. Each year, local nonprofit agencies nominate families to the program. The 12 selected families get their needs met first, but then the agencies use extra money to help other families with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills and transportation.

Since the program began in 1999, Season for Caring has raised more than $9.7 million. Last year, the greater Austin community donated $580,187 in monetary donations and $157,277 worth of in-kind goods and services.

Watch a video of the Hernandez-Garcia family before Season for Caring, here.

Watch videos of Mia lighting the Driskill tree and the family getting new furniture from Star Furniture.

On Sunday, Nov. 27, we’ll introduce you to a dozen new families. All this week you can learn how the 2015 Season for Caring families are doing.

Read all the stories and make a donation at statesman.com/seasonforcaring.