Neighborhood Celebrates Christmas in August for Terminally Ill Woman

North Park neighbors threw a Christmas party for 88-year-old Pat Poulin a few months early because she may not get to celebrate her favorite holiday in December

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North Park residents showed the true definition of neighborly love by throwing an early Christmas party for one of their longtime neighbors who might not make it to see her favorite holiday.

Pat Poulin, 88, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in July and doctors told her she only has a few months left.

She has lived in the same home on Pershing Avenue for 55 years and Christmas, without a doubt, is her favorite holiday because of the memories she's created with loved ones.

“I had a lot of children, so we celebrated in different ways. We weren’t wealthy but they had a lot of fun and so did I,” said Poulin.

Her husband, who has since passed away, dressed up as Santa over the years for their eight children. Poulin remembered her husband's attempts to disguise himself from the children, including covering up his missing finger.

“So we would have to stuff that glove with cotton so they wouldn’t know that it’s not grandpa there, it was Santa,” recounted Poulin.

This year's celebration brought back a lot of those fun memories Poulin and her family have created over the years, but it was bittersweet for obvious reasons.

“I’m 88 years old so I’ve had a long life. I’ve raised a lot of children here in this house and I’m happy that they’re all going to celebrate with me,” said Poulin.

That's why her daughter Christena Zabrowski and the rest of their large family got to decorating. The neighbors soon joined in, too.

“We were singing Christmas carols to her in the street as if it were December. It just brought her a lot of love and joy and peace and she felt it from everybody,” said neighbor Mark Schwartz.

One last Christmas and the best gift of all: memories with friends and family.

"Family was everything. She would do anything for any of us and so this is kind of hard to see, to watch, because you know what the outcome is. But we have all those memories,” said Zabrowski.

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