David Schmitz and his fiancee, Jayne Abraham, come together for a portrait with some of their children, from left, Max Schmitz, 4, Madison Abraham, 15, and Sam Abraham, 13. (Mary Willie/The Register)
(Des Moines Register) -- As Brenda Schmitz struggled with the ovarian cancer that would take
her life in 2011, she prepared a gift that her family would not receive
"She was so selfless," her husband, David Schmitz, said
in an interview Saturday. "She knew what I was going to go through, and
the kids especially."
Brenda Schmitz had always found inspiring
the "Star" 102.5 Christmas Wish program that a Des Moines radio station
runs each year.
"About a week and half ago we got a letter in the
mail," said Scott Allen, the brand manager at the station, KSTZ "Star"
102.5 FM. "We've been doing the Christmas Wish program for 20-plus
years. We've never received a wish like this, ever."
The letter was from Schmitz, written over two years ago, one month before her
death. She asked an anonymous friend to wait until David, who lives in
Nevada, Ia., had found a new love to marry before delivering the letter
to the station, which every year takes submissions of Christmas wishes
and consults with local partners to grant some of them.
Dated Aug. 3, 2011, the letter lists three wishes.
have a wish for David and the boys and the woman and her family if she
has kids also," she wrote. "I want them to know I love them very much
and they always feel safe in a world of pain."
David and Brenda,
who were married in 2007, had one son together, Max, now 4. Brenda
brought one son from a previous relationship to the family, Carter, 21,
and David brought two sons, Josh, 17, and Justin, 14.
officials told David on Thursday that they were granting a Christmas
Wish for him. But he didn't know about Brenda's letter until he was in
the studio and on the air - hearing host Colleen Kelly read his wife's
"It's not surprising," he said. "We just know she's there and that she's part of what we're doing."
READ: Brenda Schmitz's letter (PDF)
The first wish: For something that would pamper David's new partner (Jayne Abraham, to whom David proposed this past summer).
deserves it," Brenda wrote. "Being a step-mother to all those boys, and
especially giving lil' Max a 'mother's love' that only she can give.
Make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me.
"Thank you - I love you - whoever you are."
David said Brenda told him before she died that she wanted him to move on and meet someone new.
She only had one request: "Just make sure they love Max and the boys as much as I do."
brings two children of her own to David's family, Madison, 15, and Sam,
13. A letter for Abraham was also in the envelope sent to the radio
"After she got done reading the letter from Brenda, she
had the paper laying on her chest and she said, 'I just love this woman.
I wish I could have met her,' " David said.
Abraham said it was a "mom to mom" letter.
think what touched me the most about her letter is that she told me
that she loved me too," she said. "That's what was so amazing. She
didn't even know who I was going to be."
Brenda's second wish was for her family.
the family - a magical trip," she wrote. "Somewhere where they all can
enjoy their company and companionship as a family and create those
memories that will be with them forever."
Allen, the radio station brand manager, said "there wasn't a dry eye in the room when we got" the letter.
A committee of 10 people typically reviews all requests for a Christmas Wish and decides whether to grant them.
was no question that we were going to do something for this wish,"
Allen said. "It was what could we do that would be deserving of Brenda's
name and memory."
The final wish was for the cancer nurses
and doctors in her unit at Mercy Medical Center: "A night out full of
drinks, food and fun for all they do everyday for the cancer patients
The station told David all three of Brenda's wishes will be granted, with help from sponsors.
family of eight will fly to Disney World, with flights and
accommodations paid for. Mediacom is providing all the family members
with park hopper passes for four days.
Jayne will be pampered with a massage at Disney World.
three coordinated food drops, provided by In the Bag Corporate
Catering, will be provided to the oncology unit at Mercy Medical Center.
David said he is grateful that the "unsung heroes" at Mercy are being recognized.
contributors for the wishes are Service Legends Heating & Cooling,
Grip-Tite Foundation Repair and Slumberland Furniture.
he hopes the story can help other people who have lost loved ones to
"know someone is watching out for them, giving them guidance."
said in the letter that the Christmas wish was just one of the things
she had instructed her friend - David doesn't think he'll find out who
it is - to do.
"I just don't think the story is over," he said. "I'm prepared now, let's put it that way."
Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:
#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond
Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"
CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog
Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Travon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV ***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here