WBSM has teamed up with United Way of Greater New Bedford for another year, looking to make this holiday season special for a New Bedford family that could use a miracle.

The Lima family has been selected for this year's Mini Miracle, and we hope to provide them with a memorable holiday season, but also help make a change in their lives that could impact their overall future.

Celsia Lima is a hard-working mother who also cares for her two children: daughter Celiane, 17, and her five-year-old son, Derrick.

Over the past couple of years, the Lima family has endured financial hardship that has been very straining for herself and her kids. Although Celsia has just received her work authorization since after emigrating from Cape Verde, she has only been able to work part-time, barely making ends meet.

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Her daughter Celiane is a bright young woman willing to learn every day. She's a senior and attends New Bedford High, where she shows excellence in leadership with her grades and interactions with peers.

Although she doesn't ask for much from her mother or anyone for that matter, Celiane does suffer from a vision condition called keratoconus that causes sensitivity to light and difficulties in focusing the light onto her retina. It constructs her vision in both eyes, making things so blurry that not even her glasses can correct it.

Due to her blurry vision, Celiane can't always get around independently. She requires assistance to help her walk and see the world around her.

Things most people take for granted, like seeing the world in color or simply running outside, are experiences on which she misses out.

"I cannot see well to walk, and I cannot walk by myself to go anywhere. I cannot do things teenagers can do because I don't have the vision for that," Celiane said.

However, this past October, Celiane saw the world more clearly through special scleral lenses during an optometrist appointment. These lenses are designed with a "dome" or reservoir that floats above the eye surface for protection and clear visibility.

Celiane expressed how overwhelmed with joy and emotion she felt going from seeing nothing to everything so clearly with the lenses.

"When I just tried the lens, I saw everything very well, even the colors to write. I was very excited to see that!" she said.

Due to their family's financial troubles, Celsia cannot purchase the scleral lenses, which can cost up to $4,000 per eye.

That's why we are hoping the WBSM audience will come through with a Mini Miracle and give Celiane the gift of sight.

Ariel Dorsey/ Townsqaure Media
Ariel Dorsey/ Townsqaure Media

Celiane said the first thing she would do with clear vision is help her mom take care of her autistic, non-verbal younger brother. Derick has HADDS, a very rare disorder.

HADDS is a neurodevelopmental syndrome that delays psychomotor development and speech development. Similar to Celiane's vision impairments, Derrick is legally blind.

"For him to walk, we do the therapy because it's too hard for him to learn things by himself, "Celiane said.

"We have to teach him how to eat, walk, drink water, and take him to the bathroom. We have to know what he wants," she said.

The Lima family believes that if Celiane had complete, clear vision, she would thrive and make a difference around her. After high school, Celiana aspires to study medicine to become a pediatrician to help other young kids who may even suffer from similar impairments.

Celiane believes these lenses will not only benefit her but will be a great benefit for her family even more. This gift will help reduce the burden Celsia has to face. Clearer vision for Celiane will mean her mother no longer has to be the only caregiver for Derick.

That's all she wants for her family and for this Christmas.

How You Can Donate to Help the Lima Family

Text to Donate: Text WISHES23 to 26989. You will be sent a United Way e-link that allows you to make a donation via credit card to this family when you select MINI MIRACLE from the drop-down menu.

By Check: Make checks payable to the United Way of Greater New Bedford and in the memo line, write MINI MIRACLE. Checks can be mailed to United Way of Greater New Bedford, 128 Union Street, Suite 105, New Bedford, MA 02740.

Donate by Credit Card: You can make a secure donation to the United Way via credit card HERE. Select MINI MIRACLE from the "Please Select a Family" drop-down menu.

WBSM's Mini Miracle with the United Way of Greater New Bedford is an extension of the Annual Holiday Wish program. Families have been pre-selected. Support for this program is made possible by First Citizens Federal Credit Union, Cardi’s Furniture, Lech Auto Body, Inner Bay Cafe & Grille, Freestone’s City Grille, Morin & Pepin, Fall River Municipal Credit Union, Cottage Street Motors, GM Dental/Bright Dents, Portas Da Cidade, and New England Sewer and Drain.


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