Dying woman gets her Christmas wish, in October

Woman with cancer celebrates holidays early
(Photo courtesy Sarah Conner)
(Photo courtesy Sarah Conner)

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - Anyone passing through Chinaberry Lane in Concord might just roll their eyes. Yard after yard is decked out with nativities, lights, wreathes and all the trappings of Christmas... before it's even Halloween.

Without perspective, you might think the people living on that lane are just overly eager to start a season way too soon. With perspective, you come to understand that Christmas in October, is for one woman who won't be here in December.

"I have Stage 4 cancer and I love Christmas," Michelle Fadel said.

Michelle tells of her cancer as a matter of fact. She does not cry when she explains her life is coming to an end soon. She doesn't flinch when she talks of the breast cancer that spread to her brain. It's untreatable now, which for many would signal a time for mourning. For Michelle, it's a time to start living.

"I told my husband I have a good mind to just start decorating for Christmas so our grandkids don't miss out on Christmas and he said 'I'd love that'" Michelle said.

Word spread around the neighborhood like wildfire. In just days, neighbors set out lights, reindeer, nativity sets, wreathes and signs pointing to the North Pole. Even the guy who never puts out decorations, put a wreath on his mailbox.

"It may look a little strange this close to Halloween but we hope it makes her happy and we hope she knows we're thinking about her," Tim Hawkins said.


Michelle has spent several nights being pushed down the street in her wheelchair seeing who has put up new decorations. She spends that time smiling and laughing, and living.

"When you've got people who support you like our neighbors are supporting us now and who are putting Christmas decorations up before Halloween, that's pretty special," Michelle said.

Michelle offers perspective that people in her condition don't often share, "In all honesty, you don't know if you have this afternoon. My Mom doesn't know, she's 89, she doesn't know if she has this afternoon. But we live that way. We live as if we can take it for granted. And I can't."

So she doesn't.

Her days are spent with family and friends. Her nights are spent enjoying what her neighbors have done to help make her last days, the most special.

"I said it from the time I was diagnosed with cancer. I'll get healed one way or the other. It'll be here on earth or up in heaven, but I will be healed."

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