Letter carriers surprise Austin family after they lose their daughter to cancer

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(ABC 6 News) – Austin Post Office letter carriers surprise a local family with the goal of making a devastating experience something beautiful.

It all started when Dave Groteluschen with APO noticed the Dundas family getting dozens of packages every day.

“One day, they had about ten or so packages and the children came running out in an assembly line fashion to grab the packages and bring them up to the house,” Groteluschen explained. “I asked them why they were getting so many packages all of a sudden, and that’s when they told me about their sister.”

Adelia Dundas was born premature and had many illnesses throughout her life, but her family says nothing ever held her back.

“She overcame everything, including what doctors told her she could never do,” her dad, Christoph Dundas, said. “Talking, listening, reading, walking, running, jumping, singing…everything she wasn’t supposed to be able to do, she learned how to do.”

Adelia’s mom, Kelsey Dundas, said her daughter was excited to meet everyone and anyone.

“Adelia had such a light, and her smile would just light up the room,” Kelsey added.

In December 2020, Adelia was diagnosed with Myelodysplasia Syndrome, a type of cancer.

“She needed an immediate bone marrow transplant, which was our only option of treatment that we were given,” Kelsey said.

Adelia’s brother Caleb, who was just 8 years old at the time, was a perfect match.

Together, Adelia underwent the transfusion in February 2021. But just weeks after her 10th birthday, Adelia died on March 30th, 2021, due to complications from the procedure.

This year, for Adelia’s 12th birthday, her family decided to have a toy drive for the Child Life Program at Mayo Clinic for other kids staying in the hospital.

“We’ve been trying to think of things that Adelia would enjoy, things that Adelia did love in her life,” Christoph explained. “Thing that Adelia would like to do for other kids and this seemed perfect.”

When Groteluschen heard the Dundas’ story, he knew he wanted to help.

“It really struck a chord with me, because no one wants to see their children or any child suffer. I thought maybe I should do something,” Groteluschen said.

Groteluschen went back to the post office to raise donations for the Dundas family. This week, he and a few other letter carriers surprised the Dundas’ with $250 worth of toys and a $1,500 check.

He says the letter carriers decided to donate money, so the family could shop for certain age groups in case the toys were not appropriate for everyone.

“We were certainly surprised, stunned, overwhelmed, emotional, just completely in awe of the support from the National Letter Carriers Association,” Kelsey explained.

“It’s so wonderful cause in some sense, it’s for Adelia and her memory, but in reality, it’s to bless hundreds of other kids that are in a difficult spot in life,” Christoph added.

Groteluschen says it just seemed like the right thing to do.

“There was some people that came up to me and donated money because they themselves had lost a child. That was really touching to say the least,” he said. “I hope that this all turns out to the point where no child ever has to go without toys.”

The Dundas family will be donating all of the toys they have collected to Mayo Clinic on March 10th, just one day after Adelia’s birthday in her memory.

If you are interested in donating, click here to head to Adelia’s Team Facebook page.

You can also email teamadelia2011@gmail.com for more information on what kind of toys they need and where you can drop off the donation.