By Beth David, Editor
It’s Christmas in Acushnet.
Really. It is.
And Frank Carreiro can hardly believe his eyes. His wife Lisa is battling cancer, and doctors say her time is short. All she wanted was to have one more Christmas with her family.
Someone mentioned it to someone who mentioned it to someone.
“People ask all the time what they can do to help,” said Mr. Carreiro. “I said she would like to see Christmas.”
You say it, he said, but you don’t really expect people to go out of their way. Then “they” asked if it would be okay to put a “little Christmas stuff in the yard.”
“And they came out and did just that,” said Mr. Carreiro. “I wanted to thank them publicly, because that was an amazing thing they did.”
“They” are Lisa’s co-workers at Normandin Middle School in New Bedford. At the time, she was home and could watch them, and see the decorations out the bay window from her hospital bed in the house.
“If she doesn’t make it to Christmas, she’s going to have Christmas now,” said Mr. Carreiro, and asked that people who can, please send Christmas cards to the house: 34 Lisa Avenue, Acushnet, MA 02743.
Mr. Carreiro said he contacted the news outlets to say “thank you” to the decorators.
He said people say “thank you” all the time, but it doesn’t mean a thing. It’s just words.
“I said, ‘how can I thank them in a big way?’ They did such a great job decorating the house like Christmas.”
He wanted it to be special. And it was.
After the story ran in one of the local outlets, the Christmas cards started pouring in.
“The Christmas cards have been keeping her occupied. She likes Christmas. And just thinking of the cards has been boosting her morale,” said Mr. Carreiro.
“It’s just been amazing,” he said of the outpouring of support. “Strangers are only friends you haven’t meant yet.”
Unfortunately, as of press time, Lisa is back in the hospital, but her fighting spirit is strong.
Ms. Carreiro was diagnosed with uterine cancer a couple of years ago. She had chemo and it went into remission, but then it came back with a vengeance this year. The doctors had warned her that it was a highly aggressive cancer, she said, letting her know that if it did come back, it would be long odds to fight it off.
“So I got a year of remission,” said Ms. Carreiro by phone from the hospital. “It is what it is.”
She said you can look at it two ways: Sit in the corner and say “why me” and “why did God do this to me” or make the best of the time you have.
“People have to understand,” said Ms. Carreiro. “God did not do this to me. Nobody did this to me. It’s the luck of the draw.”
She said she did chemo “last time,” she did radiation, internal radiation, and tried it all.
“I gave it the fight,” she said. “I wasn’t ready to leave my husband and kids. But now, it’s just waiting to see what’s happening, what’s going on. Is there going to be some kind of miracle for me.”
She said her one wish was to have one last Christmas with her family.
“All the people I work with showed up at my house last Wednesday night with a truckload of decorations,” she said. “They spent half the night decorating my house. Now I’ve got three other neighbors who’ve done it, and signs that say we support Lisa.”
The’ve lived in the neighborhood since 2007. The Carreiros have twin sons, 21-year-old Jonathan and Andrew, who live with them.
“It’s just a very good neighborhood,” said Ms. Carreiro. “I love my neighbors.”
Mr. Carreiro said he wanted to get the word out because there are “so many bad people out there. I just want to show there are so many great people out there.”
He joked that some people have neighbors who make them cringe.
“My whole neighborhood is just amazing,” said Mr. Carreiro, mentioning the lady across the street who just loves Christmas.
He said he started decorating his house when his parents were no longer able to travel to La Salette for the lights. It got bigger and bigger.
“My house was like the Griswolds,” he said.
And then it had a ripple effect, and more and more neighbors started decorating, with a couple really going all out.
“And we decorate for the neighbors who can’t decorate,” he said. “But this year I love it better, because of the love they put into the decorations. That is just amazing.”
“Don’t look at this as a death sentence,” said Ms. Carreiro as she was waiting to be taken out of her room for a test. “Use it to do as much with your life as you possibly can. There’s nobody to blame. There’s nobody to blame.”
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