Enquirer Herald

Police, volunteers bring Christmas to Clover family in need

Vicki's children are her world.

Trying to shed the burden of bankruptcy, the Clover mother works hard to fill four stomachs and pay the bills. Money is tight, but "we're getting by, so I'm thankful for that," she said.

Her youngest son, Drew, was born premature and not breathing.

Thanks to teamwork between God and a military doctor, Vicki said, Drew was revived.

The trials didn't end there.

Drew, now 13, still has trouble breathing, Vicki said. He has seizures and his heart rate is low. A year ago, doctors thought he might have cystic fibrosis - a life-threatening disease that causes dense mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract.

After undergoing stress tests and biopsies on his lungs, doctors realized Drew was only a carrier.

"There's just no hope or no cure for (cystic fibrosis), but there is a manageable medicine for what he has for his breathing," Vicki said. "The Lord has turned a lot of his health problems around."

Drew's brother was also born ahead of schedule, but deals with only occasional breathing problems, Vicki said.

When her youngest daughter, Kaitlin, was 2 months old, Vicki and her family thought she was suffering from spinal meningitis. Instead, doctors diagnosed Kaitlin, now 11, with reflex sympathetic dystrophy - a chronic neurological condition that shoots pain to the skin, joints, muscles and bones.

Her oldest daughter, 18, has Down syndrome and a mild learning disability. At a young age, Vicki realized her daughter had "a reflux" that caused her to regurgitate food into her lungs.

"We had to constantly watch her and keep feeding her formula and food," Vicki recalled. "If she regurgitated into her lungs again, she could die from that."

In spite of all the difficulties she and her children have faced, Vicki keeps the word "blessed" at the tip of her tongue.

"I'm just so thankful that the Lord is in our lives and that He's bringing us through day to day, every day," she said. "I'm just so thankful because it could always be worse."

When Vicki found out the Clover Police Department was looking for families to help this holiday season, she applied.

"If we got it, I was grateful," she said. "But if we didn't, I was grateful, too, because if someone else had a greater need, I would rather them have it before us."

This Christmas, Vicki's children will get gifts. On Tuesday, she and other families gathered at the Clover Community Center to receive bags of toys for their children.

Vicki said she's "very thankful and excited for the kids."

The cops in Clover are excited, too.

For the past decade, Clover officers have been delivering gifts to needy children in the community as part of the Clover Santa program, said Cheryl Gregory, a Clover detective and co-organizer of the effort.

To ensure that families didn't receive multiple services, the police department began using the same applications as the Sleigh Bell Network's Toys for Happiness, Gregory said.

Five local agencies joined forces last year as the Sleigh Bell Network to provide food and toys for less fortunate families in York County. Since November, residents in the community have been donating toys and money to the partner agencies.

The effort - coordinated by the United Way of York County - includes The Herald's Empty Stocking Fund, the Salvation Army's Angel Tree, WRHI's Toys for Happiness, Toys for Tots and Second Harvest Food Bank.

"It kind of makes you grateful for what you have," Gregory said.