Jesse Jones

A holiday miracle for veteran with cancer who waited months for unemployment

Tacoma, WA — Joshua Saunders is battling cancer and fighting to keep his home.

But now he says he is grateful and thankful, all because of viewers who reacted to his story.

“This is too much. This is more than I feel I deserve,” said Joshua. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I was just expecting answers from unemployment, that’s all.”

A few weeks ago, we told you about Joshua’s struggle getting benefits from the state.

He applied for unemployment and other programs after contracting colon cancer and receiving an ileostomy bag.

“And the fact that my colon was gone, it puts me at risk for an injury should I be attacked by a patient at work, so I couldn’t go back,” said Joshua.

After waiting months for a decision, the state denied 10 of the 14 weeks he applied for.

“I have a car payment, light bill, bills that are due and I have two dollars in my bank account at this second,” said Joshua at the time. “Two bucks. Two bucks.”

After we told Joshua’s story, viewers began to contact me wanting to help Joshua and his wife, Tammy, who is also recovering from cancer.

Sherry Shellman was one of them. We met her outside her home in Shoreline.

“Then I finally said ‘I’m going to contact you’ because somebody has to help this man and his wife, you know,” said Sherry.

She wanted to give the Saunders a check and a gift certificate

“When these things come up, we have to help. Because I’m blessed, I want to pass my blessings on to him,” said Sherry.

Mike Jones in Auburn donated, too.

“My dad lost his colon also,” said Mike, “and I know that was tough. Hopefully it will help him, get him going.”

And Lena Coleman-Meyer contacted us from Snohomish.

“And reading that his wife had cancer as well, and he still felt blessed - and that just touched my husband and my heart. It just touched us both,” said Lena.

Lena not only wrote a check, she got the local Lake Roesiger Store to start a donation box.

“A dollar here and a dollar there, drop it into the box and help this family out,” said owner Ryan Reed, when we stopped by.

Mike and Jan Powers of Lake Stevens crafted a trivet and donated a book and cash.

“We just felt like, we can’t do a lot but we can do a little,” said Mike. “And maybe put a smile on his face and just lift him up.”

And you know what? We visited Joshua again, and those gifts and checks did just that.

“250, 1000, 1500 - wow, these people. These people are saints. They are too kind,” said Joshua.

The money is desperately needed.

“It’ll pay for my house,” said Joshua. “Cause right now I haven’t been able to make my mortgage payment or anything. Right now this is definitely going to help.”

Now Joshua wants to retrace our steps.

“Once I’m able to, I’m going to definitely have to visit these people and tell them in person how thankful I am,” said Joshua. “The outpouring of love people have shown me has been hard to put into words.”

The viewers in this story have donated $3,000. You can donate to Joshua’s online fundraiser here.

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