Safyre Terry got more than the Christmas Greeting cards wish she wanted for Christmas. 660,000 Christmas cards and over16,000 packages later, 8 year-old Safyre is in awe of the love people from different parts of the world have showered her.
In May 2013, an arsonist set a catastrophic fire to the upstairs stairwell of her family’s apartment in Schenectady, upstate New York. Her father, David Terry, sister Layah, 3, brothers Michael, 2, and Donovan, 11 months were killed, as reported by the TODAY Show.
Safyre survived the fire because her father shielded her in his arms. She suffered 75 percent burn to her body, lost her right hand and recently had her right foot amputated. So far, she has undergone more than 50 skin grafting surgeries for her burns and spent more than 10 months in the hospital.
After her mother signed custodial rights to the state of New York, Liz Dolder, her father’s sister became her legal caretaker and guardian. “Safyre lost everything – her father, her mother, her sister, her brothers, her home, her favorite toy, her favorite outfit – everything that was familiar to her,” says Dodler. “She even lost the one thing we all take for granted – her reflection. But she wakes every morning with a smile on her face. She is the true definition of hope, faith and love” Dolder said during an interview.
This December, Dolder bought a Christmas card tree from a thrift store. Safyre desired to see the tree filled with cards. “When she said she can’t wait to fill up the card tree my response was ‘I don’t think it’s gonna get filled up but I am sure we will get a few more cards’,” she wrote on the Safyre Schenectady’s Super Survivor Facebook page she created to update family and friends on Safyre’s condition.
Dolder posted Safyre standing beside the tree and her Christmas wish to the community.
Kevin Clark, a member of the community saw the post and reposted it. The rest is history. The Associated Press reports a few days later “she opened up some of the hundreds of cards and gifts she’s received, including teddy bears, stuffed kittens, handmade jewelry, and books and cards signed by entire classrooms of schoolchildren.”
First Lady Michelle Obama penned a beautiful letter from her and President Barack Obama, Beyoncé sent a letter to Safyre along with a ‘flawless’ t-shirt and headband. Katy Perry sent her a box of goodies. Hulk Hogan and Michael Bublé sent her messages. She got a surprise trip to Disneyland and a 3D hand from engineering students of the University of Albany and much more.
A family friend Christine DelGallo created a YouCaring fundraising page with an initial target of $15,000 to help with Safyre’s medical expenses. As of today, $421,043 has been raised by 9,852 donors.
Over the holidays, Safyre and her family paid it forward by visiting The Salvation Army’s women’s shelter on Lafayette Street and other shelters in the Albany area to distribute some gifts to children. She said they’ll also take gifts to Boston’s Shriners Hospital, where Safyre receives ongoing treatment. “We want other children to feel the joy that Safyre feels,” said Dolder, CBS news reported.
Sayfyre’s positive attitude against all odds keeps winning the hearts of people. She has a beautiful future to look up to and remains an inspiration to many. This story goes to show human kindness and the power of staying positive no matter what.