Post courtesy of People
Location: New Jersey, NY
Date Of Injury: May 2013
An 8-year-old girl who survived a house fire and suffered burns over 75 percent of her body has one wish this holiday season: She wants to fill her Christmas card holder with as many cards as possible.
In May 2013, someone set fire to the upstairs stairwell that led to Safyre Terry’s apartment, killing her father, David Terry, and her three siblings, who were all under the age of three, the TODAY show reports.
But Safyre’s father held her in his arms, protecting the young girl from breathing in the hot air – a heroic act that ultimately saved her life.
Now, Safrye, who lost her left foot and right hand and had to undergo more than 50 surgeries to graft skin over her burns, lives with her aunt Liz Dolder after her mother signed over custodial rights to the state of New York.
“Safyre lost everything – her father, her mother, her sister, her brothers, her home, her favorite toy, her favorite outfit – everything that was familiar to her,” says Dodler, who petitioned the courts to become her guardian. “She even lost the one thing we all take for granted – her reflection. But she wakes every morning with a smile on her face. She is the true definition of hope, faith and love.”
Dodler, who lives with her husband and five children in Rotterdam, New York, often posts updates on Safyre’s health to a Facebook page she created called Safyre Schenectady’s Super Survivor. On Dec. 3, she shared a photograph of Safyre with the Christmas card holder.
When supporter Kevin Clark saw the post, he asked permission to share the photo along with an address where people could mail her cards.
Over 20,000 people have shared the post, and Safyre’s sweet wish is coming true. On Wednesday, she opened up some of the hundreds of cards and gifts she’s received, including teddy bears, stuffed kittens, handmade jewelry, and books and cards signed by entire classrooms of schoolchildren, according to the Associated Press.
“I haven’t found a word in my vocabulary to describe what has happened,” Dolder told the news outlet.
Cards can be mailed to: Safyre, P.O. Box 6126, Schenectady, New York, 12306.
When American Greetings heard about Safrye’s wish, they created a page as a way for everyone to sign a card that they will send to Safyre at no cost!
The family also created a YouCaring fundraising page to help with her medical expenses, and since her Christmas wish went viral this week, more than $174,000 has been donated.
In a touching video posted to the Facebook page on Wednesday, Safrye, surrounded by cards, thanked everyone who sent her one.
You can send Safyre a card to this address.
P.O. Box 6126
Schenectady NY 12306
UPDATE: MARCH 1, 2016
A 41-year-old woman has been arrested in upstate New York for allegedly stealing more than $1,300 in donations from Safyre Terry, the 8-year-old girl who was severely burned in a 2013 fire that killed her father and three younger siblings.
Police in Rotterdam, New York, tell PEOPLE that Kimberly Bradford was charged with felony grand larceny last week.
The charges were the result of an extensive investigation sparked by complaints filed by volunteers from Safyre’s Angels, an organization that sprung to help Safyre open the many letters and Christmas cards sent to her.
Safyre suffered burns to 75-percent of her body in the 2013 fire, which is still being investigated as a possible arson, police say.
Safyre’s request for Christmas cards made headlines last December when more than a million letters from around the world were delivered to the little girl, including ones from the likes of Katy Perry and Beyoncé.
Police say Bradford aroused suspicions within the organization last month that she was pocketing money and gift cards being sent to Safyre.
Other volunteers allegedly confronted Bradford at her home, where they found several mail bins filled with unopened letters.
According to police, Bradford had been tasked with responding to cards that had already been opened by a team of Safyre’s Angels volunteers.
Police tell PEOPLE that Bradford is accused of taking $800 in cash from Safyre’s cards and $550 in store-issued gift cards.
Bradford was arrested on Thursday and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. She was released on $5,000 bail and is due back in court on March 10.
Police continue with their investigation, and hint that more arrests could be forthcoming.
Attempts to contact a spokesperson for Safyre’s Angels were unsuccessful Monday, and court records do not indicate whether Bradford has a lawyer to comment.