This will be the toughest Christmas that Dakota Nelson has ever had to face.
Not because he has to get presents for his seven children while working three jobs, but because it’s the first Christmas his kids will have without their mom.
Nelson’s wife, Ream Nelson, died at the age of 38 after collapsing out of nowhere this summer.
According to the Idaho State Journal, Ream is believed to have suffered from an arrhythmia that left her in a coma and rendered her brain dead after she was left without oxygen for at least 2o minutes.
“We were working in the garage, goofing around and having fun, and [I] came back and she just was dead on the ground basically,” Nelson told the East Idaho News.
Ream had no known health problems and her death came as a total shock to her family and community. This left Nelson alone to raise his seven children.
“It is hard to accurately describe in words what it is like to have found my beautiful wife, whom I have fallen in love with and grown closer to in our 17 years of marriage on the floor, eyes open and unresponsive with our three-year-old standing over her. Having our children witness this is unthinkable,” Nelson said, according to GoFund Me.
Since Ream’s death, the community has rallied around to help the family.
The family was uninsured since the family made too much money to be on Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance through the state’s health care exchange.
So, Ream’s hospitalization cost them in medical bills. A GoFundMe campaign was set up and has raised $35,589 of its $250,000 goal.
A “Secret Santa” also decided to step up and try to help make this family’s Christmas a little bit better.
“Secret Santa asked we take him a $1,000 in gift cards, also $1,000 to another store and an $8,000 check,” Nate Eaton explains in a video take by East Idaho News.
The gesture was a part of the news station’s efforts to give about $250,000 for the holidays. Eaton surprised Nelson and his children after they came out of class telling him that he had $1,000 for groceries, $1,000 for Walmart, and an $8,000 check.