To say that Hanahan resident Delores Saunders loves to decorate is an understatement. Saunders doesn’t even use the upstairs room of her home because it’s full of decorations for every holiday: Fourth of July, Easter, Christmas and especially Halloween.
About four years ago, Saunders stopped decorating because she became ill and was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now cancer-free and was inspired by a national tragedy to start decorating again.
Saunders, a mother of five, grandmother of five and great-grandmother of three, said she was “hit in a way that’s just hard to get over” on Dec. 14, when 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
“My family couldn’t get in the Christmas spirit. We were crying right along with the president. Just talking about it was hard,” she said.
So Saunders decided to help in the way she knew best: decorating for Valentine’s Day. She said it not only honored the children who died but allowed her to channel her feelings into something positive.
“I want them (Newtown) to know that our hearts are with the parents. I, as a mother, loved each and every one of those children,” she said.
She spent hours blowing up plastic hearts and putting red and white lights on the trees in her yard. The names and ages of each child who died in the shooting is handwritten on the plastic hearts hanging from a tree in her front yard.
“To me, this is a good way to relieve stress. A lot of people who are cancer survivors like to feel sorry for themselves. Since I’ve become a cancer survivor, I no longer do that. I get up at 6 a.m. every day, and I make every minute count,” she said.
Saunders said she hopes that neighbors who pass by her Dominion Drive home will be reminded to love and appreciate each other a little bit more on this Valentine’s Day.