Before Hurricane Sandy hit, the Heckmans were already struggling under the pressure of caring for their sick son, Steven, who has leukemia. Now, the New York parents are also trying to find a place to live after the superstorm destroyed their home.
“I thought nothing could get worse after my son was diagnosed, and then to see this," Steven’s mom, Danielle Heckman, told Fox News. "The hardest part was going into their room; every toy we have ever gotten for them was gone."
Steven, a blonde, brown-eyed 6-year-old, was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia last summer. The debilitating disease forced Danielle to leave her job so that she could take care of her son full-time, as she wrote on the family's fundraising page on the site GoFundMe.
The Heckmans were already inundated with bills when tragedy struck again and Sandy flooded their Amity Harbor, N.Y., home with 3 feet of water and caused a tree to fall on their shed, damaging the structure and nearly everything inside.
“Everything in that shed was everything I've ever saved from when our 3 children were born,” Danielle wrote on her page.
The family did not have flood insurance because they couldn’t afford it. They are now staying temporarily at Danielle’s mother-in-law's cramped home.
“My husband, myself and my three children are sharing a queen size air mattress,” Danielle told CBS. “We definitely need a ton of prayers.”
The Heckmans can’t stay at a shelter because Steven’s immune system is suppressed and he would be too susceptible to contacting an infection, Danielle told Fox News.
The family had one bright prospect on the horizon: a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World that had been planned for this month. But they had to cancel it in order to focus on figuring out how to rebuild their home and to encourage testing for potential bone marrow donors for Steven.
"A match for Steven would be a lifeline,” Katherina Harf of DKMS: Delete Blood Center, told Fox News. “If he knows he can find a donor, then he knows that he would have that second chance.”