Kevin Duroy and Basil Seals have never met, yet the two men and their children share a common enemy: cervical cancer. It took the life of Duroy's wife, Trish, in June; Seals' wife, Emily, died from the disease earlier this month.
"I despise cancer," Duroy said. "It's just a nasty thing."
This year, both men are trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild in homes that are not their own. Duroy, 39, is living in a recreational vehicle on his in-laws' property with his children Leyton, 9, and Jayme, 12. Seals, 42, is living in a friends' house in Hutto with daughters Beth, 16, and Sabrina, 18.
"Sadly, now my daughters and I have to restart again, only this time we won't have Emily there to help us," Seals said.
The families are part of the Statesman Season for Caring program, which highlights the needs of 12 featured families and helps hundreds of other families and individuals through local nonprofit agencies. The Seals family was nominated by CareBox Program, which helps supply necessary supplies to people with cancer. The Duroy family was nominated by Wonders & Worries, which helps children cope with a parent's illness.
For the third year, another Central Texas family is helping every Season for Caring family and agency. The Sheth family is matching Season for Caring monetary donations received now through Dec. 9, up to $100,000. Donations can be made either online at statesman.com/seasonforcaring or mailed to Austin Community Foundation, c/o Statesman Season for Caring, 4315 Guadalupe St., Suite 300, Austin, TX, 78751.
"Season for Caring has become a cherished tradition for our family because it enables members of our community to help each other," the Sheth family wrote in an email. "That is how we forge stronger ties and more durable communities. The bonds between our family and our Austin neighbors are so important to us, and we love knowing that our donations go to families and individuals in need right here in our city."
The Sheth family's gift has helped to increase Season for Caring donations the past two years, to $840,780 in 2016 and $1,086,086 in 2017 — the program's best years since it began in 1999. This year is the 20th Season for Caring.
"We look forward to helping the Statesman reach out to our community by once again offering a matching donation," the Sheth family wrote. "We believe that every member of the Austin family who can give should participate in this Season for Caring, and we hope that our contribution encourages others to do just that."
The Duroys have many items on their wish list, including financial assistance to build a home, furniture and furnishings, internet access, fishing and hunting gear, and an outdoor shed. Jayme would like a clarinet for Christmas, and Leyton would like Lego Rescue sets.
To donate an item on their wish list or find out more information, contact Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org.
The Seals family would each like a special locket from Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes & Cremation Services with Emily's fingerprint on it. They also would like laptops, help with remaining funeral expenses, assistance with upcoming college expenses for the girls, and fun things such as Razor electric scooters, nail polish and makeup, fluffy blankets and plush pillows.
To donate an item on their wish list or find out more information, contact CareBox Program, 512-296-2180, careboxprogram.org.