New York Times Neediest Cases

Strangers Extend a Helping Hand to Struggling New Yorkers - New York Times

For Margaret Macaluso, driving her sons to and from their college classes and part-time jobs requires patience and compromise. The family has only one vehicle. Fortunately, she does not mind being a chauffeur. Ever since Ms. Macaluso learned in August that she had Stage 3 ovarian cancer, she has viewed every car ride as extra time with her sons.

Ms. Macaluso was featured in an article in December in connection with the The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. Hers was the story of a mother devoted to caring for her four sons, whose father died in 2013; working to rebuild a home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy; and fighting an aggressive illness — all with remarkable equanimity.

“I’m really giving it my best shot here,” Ms. Macaluso said in an interview this month. “I just want to get past this.”

In January, Ms. Macaluso had surgery to remove cancerous tissue. She needed chemotherapy, and had been advised by doctors to reduce her activity. She did not slow down, though, and recently tore her stitches.

I was just doing too much, I think, and set myself back a little bit,” she said.

After the article about her appeared, the Italian Welfare League gave the Macaluso family $10,000. Ms. Macaluso plans to use the money to buy a second car, which she said she hoped would alleviate some of the stress from the family’s frenetic lifestyle by allowing her sons to drive themselves to work and school.

Despite her energy, doctors have told her she can expect to live another five years.

“It beats two, so I’ll take five,” she said.

The Times’s coverage of the Neediest Cases Fund, which is now in its 104th year, highlights the lives and circumstances of struggling New Yorkers, and explains how even a modest amount of money can help them.

The 2015-16 campaign began on Nov. 1, 2015, and ended on Jan. 22, 2016, with donations collected through Jan. 29. The effort raised $5,664,202. The previous campaign raised $5,793,762...

The girl, Maria Campos, 4, has kidney failure, which means she needs dialysis three times a week. There is no cure and she needs a kidney transplant.

Maria’s father, Edgar, is not a suitable match. Her mother, Amalia, is a match, but because of medical complications, she is not an ideal donor candidate.

After the article about Maria appeared, several people offered to donate a kidney if they were a match. The volunteers are being tested as the Campos family, filled with newfound hope and gratitude, awaits the results.

“We’re very positive that something will come through,” Mr. Campos said.

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