The Coronado Junior Woman’s Club (CJWC) is supporting one of their own in a very special way. With the enthusiasm and expertise the CJWC ladies bring to all of their endeavors, club members are doing all they can to make the holidays special for the family of their longtime board member, Heather Patino.
On Dec. 1, the Twelve Days of CHRISmas (a creative play on Heather’s husband Chris’s name) launched with special delivery by the CJWC elves to the Patino home. The giant basket contained hot cocoa, mugs and a giant advent calendar for the three Patino children to countdown to Santa’s arrival.
“We wanted to make this Christmas extra special for the Patino family,” said CJWC Vice President Courtney Kennedy who is organizing the effort.
Many in Coronado are aware of the Patino family’s health challenge. Heather’s husband Chris is battling a rare form of cancer called mixed acinar-neuroendocrine carcinoma. Chris is on his eighth round of chemotherapy and has been hospitalized for life-threatening infections three times since September.
With Chris’s compromised immune system the children; Cynnie, 7, Rocco, 5, and Baby Del, 1, rarely get to leave the house. COVID-19 has made it even more complicated with distance learning for school. “It’s tricky and heartbreaking for the kids because they miss their friends and being able to go out and play, but it’s just not worth the risk right now,” Heather Patino said of their situation. “Although they haven’t done more than short bike rides, they have a lot of fun playing together in the yard,” she added.
The Twelve Days of CHRISmas was created by club members to give the family an exciting kick-off to the holiday season. In addition to the advent calendars, other daily surprises will include Christmas pajamas, ornament, gingerbread house, and cookie decorating kits, live Christmas carolers, and a holiday dinner from a take-out restaurant.
Kennedy said the goal was to have many different gifts and experiences that sparked joy for the family, especially the kids. “We wanted to keep the kids happy and smiling and the family building memories together,” she said.
“The kids were so excited to open the basket this morning,” said Heather. “Chris and I are so grateful for the amazing friends and community that have supported our family through all of this. It’s truly amazing!”
The CHRISmas project is created and funded by individual CJWC members and friends of the Patino family. To make a donation and find out more about Chris’s cancer battle visit gofundme.com/patinostrong.