Brenda Schmitz had always been touched by 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," Scott Allen said Friday night. He's 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 she died of ovarian cancer. She asked a friend to wait until Schmitz's husband, David, had found a new love to marry before delivering the letter. The station every year takes submissions of Christmas Wishes and consults with local partners to grant some of them.
"I 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 had four sons: Carter, Josh, Justin and Max.
Station officials told David Schmitz 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 words.
"It's not surprising, 'cause the last year and a half she's shown so many signs that she's there," he said during the broadcast Thursday.
The first wish: For something that would pamper David's new partner (Jane, to whom David proposed this past summer).
"She deserves it," Brenda Schmitz wrote. "Being a step-mother to all those boys, and especially giving little Max a mother's love that only she can give. Make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me."
Schmitz adds: "Thank you. I love you, whoever you are."
Jane brings two kids of her own to David's family. A letter for Jane was also in the envelope sent to the radio station.
Schmitz second wish was for her family.
"For 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."
Her 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 every day for the cancer patients they encounter."
The station told David all three of Brenda's wishes will be granted, with help from sponsors.
The 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.
Jane will be pampered with a massage at Disney World.
And three coordinated food drops, provided by In the Bag Corporate Catering, will be provided to the oncology unit at Mercy Medical Center.
Other contributors were Service Legends Heating & Cooling, Grip-Tite Foundation Repair and Slumberland Furniture.
"There wasn't a dry eye in the room when we got" the letter, Allen said. "It really inspired us to do something for her."
A committee of 10 people typically reviews all requests for a Christmas Wish and decides whether to grant them.
"There 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."