News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 16, 2009
WARRENTON, Ga. --- It's an early Christmas for a very special family.
Debra Kalume suffered a stroke in August that left her without use of her left side -- and with two teenagers and a set of two-year-old quadruplets to care for.
"We wanted to present you and your family with all of these things and a check for $2,200," said LaShon Sturgis, as she presented the goods. "This includes everything: diapers, detergent, potties for the kids, clothes."
Kalume thanked the students from the heart:
"When your friends and family help you out it's one thing," she told Sturgis. "But when someone you don't even know helps you out, it's really touching because they can see that you really need it."
Kalume's doctor asked her to come speak to his class of first year medical students. Sturgis was in that class, and she says what the students learned went far beyond medicine.
"This hits home, you know?" she said. "Being paralyzed on one side of the body makes it difficult to care for the kids. It just kinda touched us all."
It also moved them to help. The effort started with a simple wish list and grew to so much more.
"It became a community effort too," Sturgis said. "We ended up getting all of their gifts plus a lot more than they originally asked for."
"In the first place, we didn't even imagine anything," Kalume said. "It's really a huge surprise."
And Sturgis said the experience makes all the late nights of med school studying worth it.
"You realize why you came into medicine, why you came to medical school in the first place," she said. "It's so that you can really make a difference, with your patients and in the community.
The pile of gifts included everything from clothes and coats for the kids to a hundred dollars worth of groceries -- and even things like exercise equipment for Debra to use for therapy.