One of the largest and most significant examples of the true meaning of Christmas during 2015 will be counted as the number of Christmas cards sent to an 8-year-old orphaned fire survivor who simply requested enough cards to fill up a medium-sized, metal tree-shaped card holder bought by her aunt at a thrift store. After Sa'fyre Terry's hope for cards went viral, thanks to a family friend, she received thousands of cards, and gifts from kind strangers keep pouring in to her Schenectady, New York home.
When Sa'fyre was just 5 years old, an arsonist set fire to her family's apartment stairwell. Sa'fyre was the only one who survived the fire among her father and three siblings, however her foot and hand were eventually amputated, and she lost skin on her face. Now her face has lit up the lives of people around the world.
"I think Sa'fyre is a special gift from our Lord to show us the way to open our hearts again and care for others. Thank you Sa'fyre for doing this," stated one Facebook friend Linda Mathews on Christmas day. "I love your beautiful smile. Seeing it always brightens my day. And God Bless your aunt, uncle and cousins for being right there by your side through it all."
Tracking Safyre's request for cards started for The Gospel Herald readers with a Dec. 10 article. Read "Help Orphaned Fire Survivor Fulfill Wish of Getting Christmas Cards from Around World, Aunt Says God Saved Safyre for a Reason." She's now received more than a million cards, according to The Associated Press.
The nonprofit Baking Memories 4 Kids is sending Sa'fyre to the Disney theme parks in Florida in March, and more than $400,000 has been donated through a crowdfunding website for her medical expenses.
She also received more gifts than one youngster could ever handle, so she, in turn, shared her Christmas cheer with other needy families. Thursday morning on Christmas Eve, Sa'fyre with her aunt and uncle, Liz and Mike Dolder, packed their cars with gifts to donate to The Salvation Army Booth Home in Schenectady on Lafayette Street, reports The Daily Gazette.
Sa'fyre and some of the volunteers who helped her since the devastating fire two years ago plan to visit shelters during this holiday season in the Albany, New York, area to distribute more of the gifts received. They especially plan to provide gifts to children who are homeless or victims of domestic violence, said Liz Dolder, the girl's aunt and guardian. She said they'll also take gifts to Boston's Shriners Hospital, where Sa'fyre receives ongoing treatment, according to AP.
Sa'fyre also had the honor of being crowned the first Little Miss Capital Region Toys for Tots on Dec. 23.
On Dec. 20, the Albany Police Athletic League provided her with a private tour by limo of Capital Holiday Lights in the Park. Following a tour, which was escorted by officers from the Albany Police Center Station, she was greeted at the Washington Lake Park House by Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan, Congressman Paul Tonko and Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox. Officers from the Albany Police Center Station presented Sa'fyre with a couple of gifts they had purchased for her. She was gifted with "Frozen"-themed balloons and a balloon crown created by Balloon Gal Jenny, too. She also visited Santa and enjoyed some food and hot chocolate.
Perhaps one of the best Christmas gifts for the young girl came from students at the University of Albany, who have been working on a hand for her for months. "You should have seen her face when they presented her with the first generation 3D printed hand. Priceless," stated Dolder.
"Saf took to it right away. She even picked up a cup the within a hour of having it. They have to tweak it a bit. But she should have it back in a few days."