New York girl, 8, who was badly burned in arson fire that killed her family …

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Arson victim, 8, has Christmas wish of collecting cards from around the world.

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. Her aunt Liz Dolder told BuzzFeed News Safyre continues to have problems with her mouth due to the scar tissue tightening up and will have her next operation on January 5.

It was an early May morning in 2013 when, investigators said, an arsonist set fire to the family’s apartment stairwell in Schenectady, N.Y., not far from Albany.Two years ago, little Safyre was the sole survivor of an arson attack that killed father David, three-year-old sister Layah and brothers Michael, two, and Donovan, 11 months.

— A little girl whose father and three siblings died in an arson fire has a simple holiday wish: She wants enough holiday cards to fill up her Christmas tree. But the aunt is now determined to bring a smile to the little girl’s face by appealing for cards from around the world to complete the stand using Safyre Schenectady’s Super Survivor , a Facebook page set up by Liz to track Safyre’s recovery and consolidate support from the local community. But combined with the kindness of strangers and the power of social media, the tree-shaped card display is bringing Christmas cheer to Dolder’s niece, Safyre, who was the only member of her family to survive a house fire when she was five years old.

Now five, Safyre lives with David’s sister Liz and husband Mike, and her mother, Jennica Duell, is facing trial for perjury over claims she gave false testimony that landed an innocent man in jail for the crime. An 8-year-old New York girl who suffered severe burns in a May 2013 arson fire that killed her family asked for one thing this year: holiday cards for her card tree.

She lost the skin on her face, the toes on her left foot, her entire right hand and, later, the rest of her left foot, her aunt said. “Doctors were just making her comfortable until she passed away,” her aunt and legal guardian, Liz Dolder, 43, told The Washington Post. “She wanted to live.” “Everything is magical,” the aunt said. “I went to Goodwill and bought a Christmas card tree. And, thanks to a charity, Sa’fyre and her adoptive family are heading to Walt Disney World, Dolder said. “It’s magical,” said Dolder. “You always hear about those horrible things happening. When we got our first Christmas card, she was so excited. … It was just incredible.” Safyre’s supporters have since launched an Imgur campaign to “make this little girl’s Christmas wish come true.” Dolder said so far she has collected close to 50 cards from the mailbox.

And, since her mother had signed over custodial rights to the state, Dolder, who is Terry’s sister and Safyre’s aunt, petitioned the courts to become her guardian. “Safyre lost everything — her father, her mother, her sister, her brothers, her home, her favorite toy, her favorite outfit — everything that was familiar to her,” Dolder told TODAY Parents. “She even lost the one thing we all take for granted — her reflection. Sa’fyre has to undergo regular skin graft operations until she grows up, and Dolder and her husband Michael think he lost his longtime job this year because he missed work to take her for the treatments. You are a beautiful girl, and you deserve all the happiness in the world. “It’s so overwhelming,” Dolder said, sobbing. “I’m crying buckets, because when you’ve seen the ugly in the world, and then you see the world come together for her, it’s just more than words can say. Sa’fyre is already well-known in the area, having recently sat by Santa with Dolder’s 8-year-old twins Jacob and Jasmine in the yearly holiday parade run by The Daily Gazette of Schenectady.

Little Sa’fyre said she’s “so proud” that dozens of holiday cards have started pouring in after Dolder shared Sa’fyre’s request for holiday notes five days ago on the Facebook page Dolder maintains, “Schenectady’s Super Survivor.” Dolder bought the card tree at Goodwill and told Sa’fyre that she wasn’t sure the family would get enough cards to adorn it. Later, when Dolder shared a photo of Safyre with the tree with her Facebook community, a supporter of the family, Kevin Clark, asked for permission to share the photo, along with an address where people could mail cards and fulfill Safyre’s Christmas wish. Baking Memories 4 Kids, which uses proceeds from the sales of cookies to send children with life-threatening diseases to Florida amusement parks, is slated to stop by the family’s home with local law enforcement to deliver the good news Monday, Dolder said. She is set to go to trial in February. “The first moment I saw her, I was not prepared,” Dolder told The Post. “She did not have a face anymore.

And, in a matter of days, Safyre has received fourteen cards from throughout the country, from Florida to New Hampshire, to California. “She’s even had a few emailed from Italy, Sweden, Russia and the United Kingdom,” said Dolder. “When she opens these cards, the twinkle in her eye and the sparkle in her smile are priceless.” The family has also started a You Caring fundraising site, where they have raised $10,000 of the $15,000 needed to cover medical expenses and a van used to transport Safyre to and from her ongoing medical treatments and surgeries. “Safyre is a typical 8-year-old — she’s just wrapped in a different package,” said Dolder. “She is the bravest, most courageous little girl you will ever meet. It was all burned off — all but a small patch on her forehead.” “We opted to do it; it was very sensitive,” Dolder said. “She didn’t have a sole left, so when she stepped on something, it was like knives going into her foot.

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