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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Volunteer battles illness to help at the Christmas Bureau

Rick Haynes, a long time volunteer at the Christmas Bureau, works in the toy storage area Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2107 at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center.  Haynes has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and not sure how long he’ll be able to help out the at the annual charity.  Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Rick Haynes, a long time volunteer at the Christmas Bureau, works in the toy storage area Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2107 at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center. Haynes has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and not sure how long he’ll be able to help out the at the annual charity. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

As toys disappear from the tables at the Christmas Bureau, volunteer Rick Haynes is among the stockers who make sure the toys are continually replaced from the dwindling piles in a back room that started the Christmas Bureau stuffed with boxes of toys.

Only a few people like Haynes are allowed to work among the stacks of boxes in the back room. “You’ve got to keep it under control,” he said. “If you don’t, people will have all these boxes open and things hanging all over.”

With a decade as volunteer toy stocker under his belt, Haynes is an experienced pro. It has also been a decade since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but he manages to keep up despite the tremors and stiffness caused by the progressive neurodegenerative disorder.

“I have good days and bad days,” he said. “You just keep going forward and take it as it comes.”

Despite his illness, Haynes looks forward to spending his days at the Christmas Bureau every December. “It’s one of the few positive things in my life,” he said. “I look forward to it. It makes me feel not so sorry for myself.”

He loves to see the parents and children shopping for new toys. He gets particular delight in seeing a small child hug one of the supersized stuffed bears that always come from the teddy bear toss hosted by the Spokane Chiefs.

While Haynes is experienced, he points to the other 100 or so volunteers that make the Christmas Bureau run each day. “There’s a lot of folks here, not just one or two,” he said.

The progressive nature of his illness makes his return as a volunteer uncertain, but Haynes is determined. “I’m going to stay as long as I can,” he said.

Donations

Donations have dipped significantly, with the most recent batch bringing in $4,457 toward the goal of $525,000. The year to date total is $293,155.93, which is 56 percent of the needed amount.

An anonymous donor gave $1,072 in memory of Bill and Verna Jewell. Sally and Tim Quirk gave $500 in memory of Carol Speltz and Bill Koch, both of whom were longtime Christmas Bureau volunteers. An anonymous Liberty Lake donor sent $500 via Pay Pal. “My God bless each recipient,” the donor wrote.

Ando, Susanna and Eva Lackie donated $300 “in loving memory of our sweet Popi.”

Nancy and Tom Nelson of Colbert donated $250, as did Joann Brown of Spokane Valley. Kirk and Janet Bierwagen gave $200. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $150. “In memory of those in our family who are no longer with us,” the donor wrote. John and Alexis Chasse of Spokane also gave $150.

Steve and Beth Kenney of Spokane Valley donated $100. Maria Hartshorne, Brian Hirschkorn and Dale Nelson each gave $100 via Pay Pal. Nathan and Kelly Batson donated $100 via Pay Pal in memory of Jeanne Batson. Alan and Barbara Park of Veradale sent $100 along with a note that read: “Thanks for all you do to reach out to help those in need.”

An anonymous Post Falls donor gave $100, as did Craig and Vicki Popp of Nine Mile Falls. An anonymous Medical Lake donor also contributed $100.

Sheri Barnard of Spokane donated $50. “Thanks to all the people who make this event possible,” she wrote. Kerry and Joan Orcutt of Spokane Valley contributed $50, as did Dalton and Karen Jassman of Spokane. Thomas Armitage of Spokane gave $35.

For donations made through PayPal, The Spokesman-Review contributed the processing fee.

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