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December 16. 2012 12:03AM

Car crash leaves mom seeking help for 2 young ones

MANCHESTER - Susan is not accustomed to reaching out for help. The single mother had been working full time as a customer service agent to support her 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.

Then came the accident. On Oct. 16, she was driving her van to pick up her daughter from her second day of preschool when another car ran a stop sign and slammed into the driver's side door.

"I was like a ping-pong ball swinging back and forth, with my head hitting the frame of the door," said Susan (not her real name).

The accident left her with severe neck pain and nearly constant migraine headaches.

"I tried to go back to work a week and a half after. I was there maybe two hours before I literarily started crying from sitting in a chair and staring at the computer," she said.

She's still fighting with the other driver's insurance company, and she's been going through physical therapy and has visited a neurologist. So far, the specialists haven't been able to pin down what's wrong with her.

The fathers of her children, she said, are not in the picture. One "only sends child support when it feels convenient, and my son's father is no help because he doesn't work," she said.

Susan says this is the first time she's sought help from the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army, and she's done so only for the sake of her children.

"Just being able to give them something for Christmas is better than not having anything at all," she said.

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The generosity of Santa Fund donors makes it possible for the holidays to still be a joyful time. The Santa Fund makes food, clothing and gifts available during the holiday season, so financially stressed families can put their resources toward paying bills for basic needs.

Santa Fund donations may be made by sending a check to the Union Leader Santa Fund, in care of the New Hampshire Union Leader, P.O. Box 9555, Manchester 03108; or by placing a donation in the Santa Fund box in the lobby of the newspaper, at 100 William Loeb Drive, Manchester, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Donations can also be made online at www.unionleader.com/santafund.

Every effort is made to promptly publish Santa Fund contributions. Donors who wish to see their contributions listed before Christmas are encouraged to submit them as soon as possible. The Union Leader publishes photos of donors of $1,000 or more.

For more information, call Christy DeTrude at 668-4321, ext. 507.

How to donate

Santa Fund donations can be made by completing the online form by clicking "Donate" below or send a check to:

c/o New Hampshire Union Leader
P.O. Box 9555
Manchester, NH 03108

You can also drop off the printed form in our newspaper and a donation in the Santa Fund box at the Union Leader, 100 William Loeb Drive in Manchester from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. We will also have a donation drop box at the Intown Manchester Holiday Market on Thursday, November 29 and every Thursday in December.

Share a holiday greeting

With your donation, the Union Leader will publish a short holiday message in the newspaper. Just write it up exactly as you would have it appear, printing clearly, and mail it along with your donation. If you prefer to donate online, follow the link on the page following the transaction to submit a Christmas message.

For more information, please contact Shannon Sullivan, Union Leader Community Relations Manager, at (603) 206-7833 or ssullivan@unionleader.com

The Union Leader Santa Fund is a community tradition that has supported the Salvation Army for more than 50 years. The Santa Fund was first established at the Post Office Fruit in Manchester after a chance 1959 meeting between the Salvation Army major and the then-editor of the Union Leader.

In its first year, the Santa Fund brought in $1,000 to support the Salvation Armys Christmas effort. Since then, the Santa Fund has raised nearly $6.8 million, thanks to the generosity of the community and local businesses. Santa Fund dollars continue to provide warm clothing, meals and toys during the holidays, as well as support Kids Caf, summer camps and other critical programs throughout the year. Last year's drive brought in over $240,000 thanks to the generosity of local businesses and residents, bringing the lifetime total to nearly $6.8 million.

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