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"Thanksgiving will be nice because I'll get to have dinner with my family," Pamela said a few days before that holiday. 

She wasn't sure about Christmas, though. 

"I have stage four colon cancer that metastasized," she said.

Chemotherapy treatments are scheduled to start in December, she said. 

But this isn't the first time this year the mother of three teenagers will be going through chemotherapy. 

She already had six months of it, ending in June, then found out in October the cancer was back. 

"I'm gonna try a different chemo since the last one didn't get rid of it," said Pamela, not her real name.

It's a trial for this type of chemotherapy, so she'll have to go to the Lehigh Valley instead of being able to have the chemotherapy in Pottstown where her previous treatments took place and which was closer to home, she said. 

"It's gonna be a lot harder this time," Pamela said.

Asked how long the chemotherapy will last, she says the doctors haven't told her. 

"I think pretty much I'll have chemo the rest of my life," she said. 

The treatments won't take away her cancer, she said. 

"I need to stay on chemo to keep it from spreading," she said.

Her 17-year-old and twin 16-year-olds are the ones she's really thinking about, not herself, she said. 

"That's what makes it hard," Pamela said. "I don't like them being sad." 

Now in its 29th year, Operation Holiday has provided a brighter holiday season to thousands of families with children throughout the region. Donations from readers last year allowed the program to provide food and gifts for 144 families with 442 children in need. 

This year, 15 agencies in Montgomery County and northern Chester County have referred 107 families with 325 children. Stories of families interviewed by our reporters will appear in the newspaper and online between now and December 24.

There is no overhead with Operation Holiday and all funds stay local. Funds are collected and audited in a non-profit foundation account managed by staff of MediaNews Group.

Food, which includes the fixings for a holiday dinner as well as staples for the pantry, is ordered, bought, packed and distributed by employees and their family members as well as local high school and community volunteers.

Gift cards for every child in the program 16 years of age or younger are purchased through Boscov's and distributed in partnership with the referring agencies. 

Operation Holiday does not accept families who have not been referred by an agency in order to protect the integrity of the program. 

Operation Holiday is funded solely by readers' contributions. All contributions are tax deductible. 

Contributions can be mailed to The Mercury, Attn: Operation Holiday, PO Box 1181, Pottstown, PA 19464, or The Reporter, 307 Derstine Ave., Lansdale PA 19446. Make checks payable to "Operation Holiday."

Online donations are being accepted in a secure portal in partnership with TriCounty Community Network. Visit https://tcnetwork.org/ and click on the link for Operation Holiday.  

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