Archive for Wednesday, November 23, 1994

FAMILY FINDS MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR

November 23, 1994

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With a little help a family facing hardship finds the ability to share with others.

Beverly Toshavik and her husband get up at 4 a.m. three days a week, and they are out the door before 6 a.m. for the drive from Lawrence to Topeka, where Toshavik is hooked up to a dialysis machine for four hours of blood cleansing.

She is 47, a diabetic, and her kidneys failed a year ago. She hopes soon to be placed on a kidney transplant waiting list.

For several years complications from diabetes have prevented her from working, and now her husband spends much of his time driving her to and from dialysis treatments. A diabetic also, he works odd jobs when he can.

They are raising two nieces and a nephew, and they survive for the most part on a modest fixed income, primarily from Social Security disability payments.

"It's kind of a struggle, going back and forth to Topeka three times a week," she said Tuesday. "Through the grace of the Lord, we've been able to do it."

Through the grace of the Salvation Army, they have also been able to plan a traditional Thanksgiving meal Thursday at their Lawrence home for children, grandchildren, the nieces and nephews and other relatives and friends -- perhaps as many as 25 people before the day is out.

"There are some students that my daughter and my son know and their families aren't around so we say come on over to the house. We always have enough for everybody," she said.

This week Toshavik was among more than 460 people who picked up Thanksgiving baskets at the Salvation Army, complete with a turkey, dressing, potatoes, vegetables, canned fruit and candied yams.

"It's hard for me, so what they can help with is a real blessing," she said. "Otherwise I probably wouldn't have anything for Thanksgiving."

Her family is among the many in Lawrence that depend on government assistance and help from private organizations like Penn House, 1035 Pa., where Toshavik gets clothes, and The Salvation Army, 946 N.H. The Salvation Army this week gave away most of its food reserves and now needs new donations so there will be food to distribute for Christmas and beyond.

"They helped me a year before too," Toshavik said. "It's not like I don't appreciate it. If I can help them, I'm willing to help them."

On Thursday she plans to be in her kitchen, cooking a big meal.

"I'm thankful for all that I have," she said. "I'm just thankful that I'm here. Before, I was so ill that I didn't care if there was a Thanksgiving. Now, I'm thankful that I have another day and I'm going to see my grandkids and my children -- just to be with them.

"If we didn't have this Thanksgiving dinner we would have had something together. This even makes it better, to have the food."

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