gifts of love
When Fred Hepfer met George and Mary Franklin on an airplane 3 months ago he had no idea what a godsend it was.

Fred, who was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer and is expected to recover, was returning to his job in Pennsylvania, so his family's health insurance wouldn't be discontinued. He was leaving his wife, Billie, and two daughters in Tampa, FL, so Billie could receive treatment for breast cancer at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

The Franklins offered to check in on Billie and girls, Amanda and Katrina.

Good to their word, the Franklins met with Billie and her daughters. A warm hug from Katrina, age 4, created a mutual bond between the families.

The outpouring of kindness hasn't stopped since that time.

  • George Franklin is a member of the Lion's Club, which put the word out for donations last month. They have collected nearly $7000 to help offset medical and living expenses.
  • A Brandon couple put them up for several weeks upon their arrival.
  • Town Place Suites, by Marriott, donated a rent free room until December 30.
  • The Hepfers celebrated Christmas with the Franklins.
  • Deputy sheriff, Kay Poytee, collected two truck loads of Christmas gifts from friends and other deputies.
  • Most recently,

  • The Hepfers moved into their newest home, a trailer donated by the Tampa Bay Baptist Conference Center.
  • After reading about the family's plight in local papers fellow campers stocked the Hepfer's trailer with food.
  • The Lion's Club continues to accept donations to pay the Hepfer's health insurance premiums and other expenses while Fred remains in Florida with his wife and family.

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