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OC widow with kids faces cancer, foreclosure

February 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A Santa Ana woman is struggling to care for her three young children as she tries to cope with a series of family tragedies, one involving her own health. Her neighbors are trying to help as best they can. Satu Immermann doesn't show it, but she worries about the future of her 16-month-old son Nicholas, as well as his 6-year-old sister, Ashley, and 5-year-old brother, Christopher.

"They need mommy. They need so much from me and I want to be here for them," said Immermann.

The 42-year-old Santa Ana mother is battling stage IV breast cancer, diagnosed last summer.

"It was a shock," said Immermann. "First, shock and one of more to come."

The next shock came nearly four weeks ago while the kids played nearby. Immerman's husband, Karl, collapsed.

"My oldest one was there and she kept saying, 'Daddy, don't die,'" said Immermann. "He saw me coming and reached out his hand. He wanted me to help him. I said, 'Can you breathe?' He said no."

The 48-year-old financial consultant died of a heart attack. He had no life insurance. Immermann cannot afford to bury him.

"She really has nobody, has nobody here," said neighbor Suzi Schwartz.

Without family nearby, her neighbors stepped in to help.

"We've been trying to help her with food, doing whatever we can to make the load a little easier," said neighbor Annette Fussell.

They worry about her health with no time to grieve, no time to recover. Immermann is about to start radiation. The stress doesn't end there.

Adding to Immermann's worries: She 's about to lose her house. She's facing foreclosure in three weeks.

"I don't want the children to go through more," said Immermann. "They need to have a regular life and need to have a home."

Immermann tries to stay positive and prays she can buy more time to keep her home, where neighbors have become family.

To donate to the Immermann family:

Chase Bank
c/o Satu Immermann Family
Account # 871847083
18511 E. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92869