SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Barbara Ostrander is surrounded by angels.
In early November, her husband Ken stopped at a Christmas tree farm in Salem and he asked about getting a tree. A woman there said they only dealt wholesale but asked him why he wanted the tree so early.
“He told her that I might not be here at Christmas and she hollered at somebody to bring her a tree and she gave it to him,” Barbara, who’s 69, told KOIN 6 News.
At the end of October, she was diagnosed with ovarian and liver cancer.
“It’s the most beautiful tree. There’s no spaces in that tree at all. It’s totally perfect all the way around and I just know God picked out that tree.”
She likes angels. She’s always liked angels.
“I just love angels and I always wanted a tree mainly decorated with angels,” she said. “They’re God’s help for us here and they’re just beautiful.”
Her husband knew she wanted a tree filled with angels and he decided to surprise her. “He said something to somebody at work that I wanted an angel tree. They put the word out at work.”
Ken’s co-workers at Avalign Thortex in Portland took it from there. He began to bring home angels. “Then his daughter also put it on Facebook and his sister and they’ve been going around collecting angels from people,” she said. “Some people have sent them.”
Over the past 2 weeks, co-workers, friends, family and strangers have given her more than 300 angels.
“Yes, strangers, all strangers!” Barbara said. “How could so many people, you always hear all these bad stories, these people ar so wonderful. You know, right from their hearts they did this, just to make somebody happy. And they sure have! I just want to thank them so bad.”
She even got an angel from Norway.
The outpouring for her from people she doesn’t know tells here “there’s so much love in this world, so many loving people that care about people whether they know them or not.”
It’s a blessing that brings her comfort. “Whenever I feel sad I just look over there at the tree and look around and just think how many people love me.”
A woman at hospice works with Barbara to display all the angels that are coming in. Some are on the tree, some on shelves, some are hanging from the ceiling and woodwork.
“I’ve got a bookcase full of them over here,” she said.
Despite her diagnosis, Barbara Ostrander hopes that everyone who’s reached out “can feel my love go back out to them for what they’ve done for me.”
Anyone who wants to donate an angel can contact Barbara’s husband, Ken, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org