White Settlement Yard Blanketed in Balloons for Man's Final Days

Neighbors responded to a Facebook request to cover the Redell family's yard with balloons

Along a residential street in White Settlement, it's tough to miss the outpouring of support for a family spending their final days with a husband, dad, brother and son.

On Monday, Melissa Redell took to a community Facebook page.

"It might be a weird request from me to my neighbors. But if you can afford to, please come tie balloons on my mailbox or around my front window. My husband is coming home from the hospital for the last time," Redell wrote.

Her husband Steve was coming home for hospice care in the final stage of his battle with myleofibrosis, a rare type of bone marrow cancer. 

In her post, Melissa explained that Steve's hospice bed would face the front window and that the 38-year-old had only been given two days to live.

She said she just expected a few balloons, but when the family arrived from the hospital there were already several bunches to greet them. It didn't take long for more to arrive.

"Yesterday was easily every 20 to 30 minutes… sometimes up to three cars in a row," said Steve's sister Susan Williams.

Williams said she and other family members have taken turns as the welcoming committee for the neighbors who can't seem to stay away.

"If my dad is out, game over. You're getting a handshake. You're getting a hug. You're getting the whole shebang," Williams said.

She said the deliveries and condolences have become a welcoming distraction in Steve's final days.

Three days after the initial Facebook post, it seemed there were too many balloons to count. Some seemed to have been chosen for Steve's 4-year-old son and 10-year-old stepson. Others shared messages of support from places near and far -- even all the way from Australia.

The front door is now covered in messages of love, hoping Steve makes it to the end of the week to celebrate his fifth wedding anniversary with Melissa.

Others have stopped by with food, gift cards and school supplies for the couple's two boys.

As a stranger looking in, you would think the frequent visits were from long-time friends. But in between hugging neighbors, Williams will tell you they're all strangers.

"They're just like, 'We saw somebody in need,'" Williams said.

She said Steve and Melissa moved their family to Texas from their home state of Oregon three years ago. He came for a job, which he was able to work just a short time before his disease forced him to stay home. 

"Sometimes when you're going through stuff, you think you're alone and no one understands because this isn't something that happens to many… it's not something that happens everyday," Williams said.

But from his hospice bed, Steve, now in and out of consciousness, has had the chance to see that's not the case. 

A community he hardly knew has blanketed his yard with symbols of joy to help Steve and his family enjoy their last moments together. 

"Everything's bigger in Texas, including hearts," Williams said.

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