MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – Over the years, Michael and Kenya Vandiver have fostered fourteen children.
The Midland couple would later adopt five of those kids. To paint a picture of who the Vandivers are, they make for a large, happy, and goofy family.
“They’ll switch the salt and the pepper on you. They’re always playing pranks and having fun,” said Melissa Davis, Michael’s sister.
Michael and Kenya are in love. They’re best friends. The couple has always lived modestly.
“To know Michael, my brother, is to know Kenya. They are never separated, if they can help it,” Melissa said.
The couple’s selfless character is well-known by their Midland neighbors, and by their coworkers. In short, the Vandivers will go the distance for anyone, whether it’s mowing their neighbor’s lawn, working on their neighbor’s car, or giving gifts to children without families.
“If you need help with something, they will take the whole family and go together,” Melissa mused. “They’re the first ones to say, ‘If you’re in need, we are there. We will help you.'”
But Michael was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer a few years ago. He lost his job as a mud engineer in the oilfields shortly after.
His wife, Kenya, is fighting adrenal tumors. Together, Michael and Kenya recently underwent the biggest surgeries of their lives. The outcomes were not promising.
Michael’s surgery led to a life-threatening infection. Kenya is no longer able to work as a nurse because of her health challenges.
Then, the family of seven contracted the Coronavirus.
“We were surprised when the whole family got it,” Melissa said. “Michael and Kenya were so sick.”
The children have since recovered. But Michael got pneumonia.
When our reporter Rob Tooke first spoke to Melissa, her brother had come home from the hospital to recover. He’s since returned because the family’s oncologist says Michael’s colon cancer is now considered terminal.
Michael has weeks to months to live.
“He doesn’t think of himself. He thinks of his family,” Melissa said.
Melissa is now afraid her brother’s family will lose their home because she says they were denied financial assistance. They are behind on bills, with a mortgage, diapers, and groceries to pay for.
For this Midland family that gives far more than they will ever receive, Melissa is coming forward to ask the community to help them.
For those interested in donating to the Vandiver family, Melissa has organized a GoFundMe. You can find the fundraiser here.