The simple way you can make Christmas merry for this 8-year-old arson survivor

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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. 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. 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, 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. 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.

She is the true definition of hope, faith and love.” Dolder, who lives in Rotterdam, New York, with her husband, Michael and their five children, says her niece, now 8, is a fighter who has inspired a community of supporters to keep going regardless of their obstacles. 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. Dolder often posts updates on Safyre’s health to Safyre Schenectady’s Super Survivor, the Facebook community she created after the fire to keep friends and family up-to-date on her niece’s condition.

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. Safyre’s mother, Jennica Duell, has also been charged for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury — first claiming she saw who started the fire and then claiming that statement was false, Jaquith said.

Court documents allege that on May 24, 2013, Duell testified under oath that “a man said that he could make it so Duell and him could be together forever” and later poured gasoline in the hallway and lit the stairs on fire. “She spoke about her babies and he said they would get out and not get hurt,” according to court documents. “She saw the flames and wanted to get in there, but he wouldn’t let her.” On January 31, 2014, she testified that the previous statements were untrue and that she and others were not at the crime scene at the time of the fire, according to court documents. “The first moment I saw her, I was not prepared,” Dolder told The Post. “She did not have a face anymore. 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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