Add together one local family in need with dozens of helping community members, and that equals a happy ending to an emotional story.
Two weeks ago, I brought you the story of Isaako and Susan Tanupo, who moved to Tracy in 2008 with their special-needs daughter. Within months, Isaako became ill; he has since been diagnosed with a rare cancer and valley fever. Susan uses a wheelchair and has heart complications. Medical bills took their toll, and the Tanupos lost their business and home.
A cry for help was sent out via social media and my weekly column. Instantly, I received messages from people wanting to help. Local residents provided school supplies, clothes and shoes for the family’s teenage daughter. Gift cards and monetary donations were given to help with food and other basic needs. A home was found, and our community rallied again to help the Tanupos move.
Last Sunday, close to 20 people, two trailers and a multitude of trucks and SUVs showed up to help Susan and her family move, with temperatures soaring close to the century mark.
"This family sounded like they needed help, and so I helped," explained local resident Jeff Bauer, who spent hours in the sun fixing a wheelchair ramp for Susan.
"I think this is a good cause," said local resident Scott Weiss. "The Lord gives to me, and I like to give back."
Moving activities began at
8 a.m. and lasted through the dinner hour. There was a constant flurry of activity, and everyone pulled together like family.
"I am beyond amazement that everyone pulled together in this heat to help us," Susan Tanupo said. "I can never thank them enough. It’s nice to be able to smile again and have hope."
Susan once asked me if people still care and reach out to help. On Sunday, we had our answer.
The family is still in need of car tires to travel back and forth to the hospital and dog food for Susan’s service dog. To help, please call Susan at 408-937-9757.
• Anne Marie Fuller, a Tracy arts commissioner, is National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation and the television host of "Helpful Hints with Anne Marie" on Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.