The best thing about the holidays is giving

Harri Mäenpää
Harri Mäenpää
Harri Mäenpää
Harri Mäenpää
Harri Mäenpää

Illness does not diminish the Christmas spirit in Parikkala. The Good Holiday Spirit voucher brought joy to Allan and his children.

Näin keräykseen voi osallistua:
  • The campaign’s bank account: FI17 1596 3000 2020 20
  • Donation call:0600-16555 (10,01 €/call + service charges)
  • SMS donation:Text “HJM” to 16499 (10 €)

“When you see it on others’ faces if they like the presents they got,” Sofia, Allan’s 16-year-old daughter, describes the best moment of Christmas.

In Sofia’s family, Christmas consists of traditions. They bring out the Christmas lights and a Christmas calendar at the start of December. Porridge, a Christmas tree, and presents give the final touch on the celebrations.

“And Christmas sauna and the food. And getting some peaceful moments,” adds Allan, their single father.

This is the first time when the family packs their things and spends Christmas away from home. For the celebrations, they go from their two-bedroom terraced house to the house of Allan’s oldest son. Being invited to his son’s place made the father happy.

“We had thought about spending the holidays somewhere else. Our two-bedroom home starts to feel a little crowded with four children.”

Medications every morning and every evening

Last December, the family received a Good Holiday Spirit voucher. The voucher, worth 70 euros and suitable for buying food, was needed.

Allan quit working as an IT services entrepreneur four years ago. Afterwards, illness has kept him from working. A few years ago, he was exhausted with depression. Now he suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a knee injury that makes moving difficult.

“Since February, I’ve received disability pension. I spend almost 24/7 with the boy,” he refers to his youngest son, Santtu, 12. Santtu is slightly developmentally disabled.

“Almost every morning, the day starts with an epileptic fit. He goes to occupational therapy and speech therapy in Savonlinna and Imatra twice a week,” Allan describes his son’s everyday life.

Medications are a fixed part of the family’s life, as Sofia also has epilepsy. Allan takes 12 different medications for his health problems.

Good spirit for the shopkeeper

Allan remembers the voucher fondly. It gave the family the opportunity to buy a ham, casseroles, and other traditional Christmas foods. The personnel of the Sale grocery shop in Uukuniemi also remember the family’s shopping trip.

“The cashier was amazed when the groceries cost 69.99 euros. She even went to show the shopkeeper how the voucher was spent exactly to the last cent.”

However, Allan denies having calculated the total cost of the groceries while shopping.

“The sum just was exactly 70 euros without planning.”

Blood donor wants to help

Allan also wants to help others in need. Before, he donated blood very often.

“I donated 30 times before we moved here. In Parikkala, there aren’t any places to donate blood, even though my blood type is O Rh D negative, which would be much needed.”

He has found another way to help other people, however. When possible, he participates in fundraising campaigns for war veterans.

“They deserve respect, they have earned it. I donate a little money to the campaigns even if I don’t have all that much.”

Text: Heikki Hamunen