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A Young Widower Was Struggling To Care For Seven Kids, So A Stranger Decided To Step In

Ream and Dakota Nelson

Ream and Dakota lived in Ashton, Idaho when they got married in 2001. It wasn’t long after that they would have their first child together. Over the years, they had six more children, a total of seven kids. The couple always dreamed of having a big family, and that is exactly what they did. Everything was going great for the couple until June 2018. That was when everything changed forever.

The Early Years

Before the couple got married and had children, they both attended Brigham Young University in Idaho. After graduating, the couple got married and started their family. Dakota took a part-time teaching job at his church to earn some extra money for his family. Ream loves her children, and she loved finding out that she was pregnant all seven times.

Goodbye Ream

Dakota went out to run a few errands and left Ream at home. When Dakota got home, he found his wife on the garage floor after suffering a massive heart attack. She managed to hold on for a few months, but sadly, she died. She left her devastated husband and children behind, causing Dakota to wonder how he was going to be able to go on. Fortunately, he had the support of his family, his wife’s family, and his friends. Even with all of this support, Dakota was struggling every day, and those close to him could see it.


Ream’s younger sister, Summer Alameel, realized that her brother-in-law was struggling to support his seven children by himself. She decided to create a GoFundMe page for the family, where she recounted the horrible events of the tragic day that she lost her sister. On the page, she wrote, “One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to have Ream Nelson as a big sister. For those of you who are lucky enough to know her, you know of her kindness, strength, sense of humor, and love for others. Ream is a mother to seven amazing children.” Summer continued by saying that her favorite job of all time, other than being a mother, was teaching girls volleyball. Summer wrote that her sister’s home was open to anyone in need, even if all they needed was fun.

She wrote about Dakota and Ream and how they were perfect for one another. She called them, “a match made in Heaven.” Then, she wrote about Ream’s death. She wrote about how Dakota found his wife on the floor of the garage, blue and not breathing. Dakota tried to save his wife’s life, but it was too late. According to Summer’s post, her sister’s brain had been without oxygen for over 20 minutes, which cause severe brain damage. Ream was in a coma.

Ream’s Prognosis

The doctors told Dakota that because of her young age, Ream stood a fighting chance. They expected her to remain in the coma for three to six months. During that time, she was transferred to a long-term care facility, where she could get the specialized care that she needed. Her doctors were hopeful that within two years of inpatient treatment that she would show a significant improvement. They did tell Dakota that there were no guarantees.

The Purpose Of the Page

After Summer wrote about her sister and her prognosis, she mentioned that she was starting the GoFundMe page because her sister didn’t have insurance. Due to the healthcare crisis in Idaho, Dakota, and Ream, like most other residents at the time, didn’t have insurance. The kids did, but they didn’t. Dakota was working three jobs to support his family, but it wasn’t enough to cover the medical bills. With that in mind, Summer set a target of $250,000 to cover her sister’s care. As the days past, Summer continued to update people on the fundraising site about Ream’s condition. Sadly, she had to let people know that her sister passed on September 23, 2018, at 3:45 pm.

Dakota’s New Role

In the next few months, Dakota tried to fit into his new role as a single dad. He had to provide for his seven children all on his own. He kept working his three jobs to keep a roof over his family’s heads, clothes on their backs, and food on the table. It wasn’t easy. When Christmas approached, it was tough for Dakota. It would be the family’s first Christmas without Ream, which wouldn’t be easy.

An Amazing Gift

Nate Eaton, a reporter for the local news, did a special report in December 2018. In the report, he said, “I’m coming to you from Ashton today. We are continuing to give away a quarter of a million dollars from Secret Santa.” Next, he looked back on Dakota’s heartbreaking story. He mentioned that Dakota was working as a part-time seminary teacher with the LDS Church, on top of his other two jobs. Next, he revealed that Dakota would be receiving $2,000 worth of gift cards and a check for $8,000 so that the family could get ahead. With everything ready, Nate and his team headed to Dakota’s home.

Giving the Gifts

Eaton and his team surprised Dakota at home and asked him a bit about what happened to his wife. A teary-eyed Dakota talked a bit about Ream, and then Nate gave him the fantastic gifts. Dakota started to cry, and Nate gave him a supportive hug.


The video was posted on YouTube, and it wasn’t long before it had over a million views. People left supportive comments for Dakota, telling him what a strong, supportive man that he is. A young widower was struggling to care for seven kids, so a stranger decided to step in. Dakota’s Secret Santa really saved his family’s Christmas when they needed it the most.

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