Christmas definitely came early for this struggling family from Idaho. Over the last three years, Brad and Erica Crow, along with their two adopted children, have been through emotional anguish, serious financial difficulties and issues with health insurance.
Brad battled cancer early in his life and persevered. More recently, however, Brad has had to contend with a series of injuries and life-threatening illnesses that have taken its toll on the family.
Diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called osteosarcoma at 14, Brad had to undergo radiation, and surgery to remove one leg, which was then replaced with cadaver bone. “That was quite an ordeal,” he reflected. With grit and determination, Brad battled cancer in his youth and survived. Unfortunately, this resolve would be tested with more recent health challenges. When Brad and Erica decided to build their dream home, they planned to build a workshop on the property first.
This would serve as their temporary living quarters until they finished work on the new house. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when Brad fractured his leg during construction. He endured the pain so he could finish the shop for his family, but the injury progressed to a point where surgery was required to replace the bone with artificial parts at the Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City.
He was actually recovering well from the procedure when disaster struck again. While on the mend, Brad developed a staph infection and was soon fighting for his life. As a result of the infection, Brad had that leg amputated. He had a hip replacement soon after, and is now facing the need for another hip replacement. “I almost died a few times, it was pretty scary,” he said.
The tremendous medical complications and necessary recovery time has kept Brad at home and out of work for more than a year. While Erica earns a living as a school bus driver, this is certainly not enough to cover Brad’s huge medical bills, and inability to provide financially for the family.
But a Christmas miracle, surprisingly through the generosity of an unlikely group of people, was happily in store for the Crow family. Seeing how hard the family worked to overcome their misfortune, Erica’s sister nominated the Crows as recipients of a surprise from a Secret Santa.
For the last four years, EastIdahoNews.com has conducted an annual Secret Santa series, which facilitates substantial life-changing gifts from anonymous community members to struggling east Idaho locals. Nominations are made online, and this year, the eagle-eyed reporters handed out donations amounting to $500,000 to a number of lucky recipients.
When the EastIdahoNews.com team knocked on the door, Erica was in shock. Touched by their story, a Secret Santa had decided to gift Brad with health insurance for a year, and $50,000 to be used toward starting their home! Brad was in tears as he unwrapped the present from the news team. The health insurance will surely come along way for their family. “It’s been a heck of a road, that’s for sure. We’re just taking it one day at a time and this is an awesome day.”
Despite their hardships, the Crows continued to work hard and stay optimistic. Erica said, “I try to take as many trips as I can. I tease him; he’s become kind of Mr. Mom.” Brad added, “Just got to keep going. Have faith everything is going to be okay. That’s all you can do.”
Soon after, Erica sent a heartfelt note to the EastIdahoNews.com team. “As I sit in my vehicle this morning waiting to go into church, I feel so very humbled and blessed with all we’ve been given. The more I think about the incredible gift you all have given us, the more undeserving I feel. The Lord saved Brad’s life many times already, so we still have him with us. We have all our basic needs met plus a few small wants. I just can’t find the words to express how humbling it is to have people in our lives that love us so much, and complete strangers that give so much so selflessly.”
“Throughout this terrible trial we have been going through, Brad has told me on many occasions how sorry he is that HE has caused us to struggle so much (like it is his fault) and that if he had just died we would be able to collect his life insurance and live well again. Those words break my heart every time because the kids and I would give up everything and live in a tent to still have him here. Thank you, Secret Santa, for helping us financially, but most importantly giving Brad hope that our lives will get better someday.”
The family credits their positive attitude to faith in God. Brad has battled cancer and survived severe injuries, and with this wonderful and truly selfless Christmas surprise, is sure to continue fighting in the face of adversity. Watch the video feature below when Brad receives the health insurance and the much needed cash-gift.