Cancer survivor continues to bless families at Christmas time

Kids Loving Kids Founder Pam Dodd holding a bag of gifts that will be given to a family.

Pam Dodd can remember the financial burdens Christmas can put on some people. Dodd came from a single parent home and remembers the lengths her mother would go to make sure the kids in the house would have a good Christmas. A few years ago, she started the organization Kids Loving Kids. The organization aims to take the financial burden off of families at Christmas time by having the community come together and donate new to gently-used toys and clothes to those in need.

In November of 2017, Dodd was diagnosed with stage 3 Follicular Lymphoma. She was not sure how things would turn out. This past February, while at her church in Jasper, she felt as if her cancer was healed. In her words, she believed a miracle happened. That next month, her doctor told her the cancer was gone.

Dodd said she got a late start for this year's edition of Kids Loving Kids. She said even though she was cancer-free, her medication was very strong and left her weak and without energy. All of a sudden, people started reaching out to her.

"The Word of God says if you cry out to me, I will answer," Dodd said. "I cried out to him, all alone in my home, and I said, 'Lord, if you want me to do Kids Loving Kids this year, you have to make it happen.' My phone began to ring and text messages began coming in and people said, 'What are we going to do? Let me get involved.'"

Saturday, her organization held two events; one in Cullman County and the other in Walker County. Hundreds came out to receive toys and clothes for Christmas. Many of those gifts were donated by the Harmony School in Cullman County where more than 75% of the students are on free and reduced lunches. Sharon Meadows came after the Walker County event finished. She and other families were able to receive gifts to ensure their families have a good Christmas. Meadows has been battling lung cancer for the past three years.

"If it was not for these folks, a lot of little kids would not have Christmas," Meadows said. "They helped me out by giving my three grand kids and some more a good Christmas. So, when they wake up, there will be something under the tree for them. They [volunteers] should be in God's hands all the time, and I know they are. People like this have to be in God's hands to do stuff like they are doing."

"I do not have children myself," Dodd said. "When I see all of these kids come in, I ask them if I can hug them. I ask them what they want, and when they hug me back, it is really amazing to feel the love. This Christmas, I have never seen or hear so many families and even the children come up to me and to the volunteers and say, 'Thank you so much for what I have.'"

The next Kids Loving Kids event is set for Dec. 22 at Meek Baptist Church in Arley at 11 a.m.

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