Thief steals donation jar meant for woman fighting cancer

NOW: Thief steals donation jar meant for woman fighting cancer

Mishawaka, Ind. - A heartless thief steals a donation jar that was meant to help a Mishawaka woman fighting cancer. The jar was stolen Monday morning at a 7/11 on Milburn Blvd in Mishawaka.

35-year-old Kristina Stafford suffers from a rare form of kidney cancer. Family members started the fundraiser about a week ago after seeing Stafford struggle financially during her illness.

Katherine Debolt, Kristina’s soon to be sister in law, told us the container was full and probably had about $40 in it.

“It could’ve helped her with her rent. But most importantly it, overall it would have helped her continue to be self-sufficient and live the independent life that she wants to live," Debolt said.

The container is more than just a donation jar. It's a lifeline for Stafford.

“It’s been amazing. It’s been a really hard last couple years. To have to step away from work is extremely difficult. I worked so hard to get into the position I was in. When you just can’t physically do it anymore, I think it’s not just physical but emotional," Stafford said.

Kristina’s battle with a rare form of kidney cancer started two years ago. She has been through several different chemo treatments since then.

“I mean I'm on so much medicine, I'm just sick all the time," Stafford said. "It’s frustrating sometimes because you know you need to do this to fight it, but there’s days where i just don’t know if i can do this anymore”

When Stafford had to quit her job money got tight. She’s filed for disability but says the paperwork will take a while to go through. Katherine Debolt decided to help by putting donation jars in several local businesses—including the 7/11 where Kristina used to work.

“This will ease the financial burden of her medical bills and it will also allow her to not stress as much about her living expenses," Debolt said.

But around 5 a.m. Monday, one of the donation boxes was stolen from 7/11, with all the money inside of it and Mishawaka police say this man caught on surveillance cameras may be to blame.

“It’s just frustrating; you know there is a lot of people that need help for a lot of different things and this happens all the time," Stafford said. "Unfortunately no matter where or what the situation is, there’s always evil.”

The community is coming together to help Stafford by collecting donations. The donation jars are in several places around town, including Family Video, Marco’s Pizza and Pizza Hut.

“For them to say absolutely and want to be a part of something for someone. It just lets you know, there is good in this world," Stafford said.

Debolt said they raised about $300 just with the donation jars, and are hoping to raise $2,000 at a “Kristina strong” fundraising event this Friday.

The event starts at 7 p.m. at The Well on Mishawaka Ave. in South Bend. Admission is by donation, with a suggested donation of $10. All of the proceeds will go to support Kristina Stafford. 

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