Lynette’s Angels: legacy lives on with Christmas miracles for families fighting cancer
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On December 21, 2014, Lynette Earnest died after a three-year battle with cancer and a new tradition was born.
“She was an amazing wife, the best person to everybody,” Mark Earnest, Lynette’s husband said. “She helped others before herself even on her last days.”
Earnest, was nearing the end of her battle with colon cancer when she told her family she didn’t want to do their usual Christmas gift exchange, Kara Burwell, Lynette’s sister-in-law told 10/11.
Instead, Lynette wanted them to pool their money to buy gifts for a family in need.
“She picked out the family and set up the delivery for December 21 at 1:00 p.m.,” Burwell said.
Lynette died that day before she got the chance to deliver the gifts.
But her family carried on.
“That first year was really hard, we didn’t know what we were doing but we knew we had to do it,” Bridget Kreifels, a close friend of Lynette’s said.
That’s when Lynette’s Angels began.
Emily Earnest, Lynette’s niece said they formed a non-profit organization and for a week in November they accept nominations for families fighting cancer who could use a Christmas miracle.
“When Lynette went into cancer centers she saw the struggles they had, struggles people don’t think about,” Kreifels said. “It takes a toll on the family, it affects them all not just the person fighting the disease. It affects them emotionally, financially, its scary.”
So far they’ve provided Christmas for nearly 30 families in six years.
One of those recipients was Marci Fehlhafer, who in December 2018 was fighting cancer. At the time her children were 11 and 13.
“They were trying to just figure out how to be a kid let alone have a mom who is very very sick so when we got that I saw a weight lifted off my children,” Fehlhafer said. “It was a gift I can’t even explain.”
This year, they’re providing Christmas gifts for five families and gift baskets for 14 others.
“Fundraising has been tough this year, our funds are limited but we know its going to happen,” Kreifels said.
If you want to help make Christmas wishes come true for families, you can donate directly to Lynette’s Angels or join the Facebook group Lynette’s Angels Wish Lists to purchase an item off a wish list.
The group said they’ve gotten donations from past recipients and from complete strangers touched by Lynette’s legacy.
“She was an amazing woman, her smile is seen in so many recipients,” Burwell said.
Lynette leaves behind her twins, Austin and Addison, who along with her husband Mark help deliver the gifts year after year.
“I cry every time,” Mark said. “Mostly going into people’s homes and seeing the smiles on their faces when we arrive with truckloads of gifts we know Lynette’s looking down on us and she sees what we’re doing.”
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