People across country send gifts to Metro Detroit family thanks to social media influencer

‘It’s been amazing,’ mother of two says, ‘It’s beautiful.’

A Metro Detroit family facing an extremely difficult year has received hundreds of gifts from strangers across the U.S. thanks to support from an influencer on Instagram.

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – An incredible gift of kindness was given to a Metro Detroit family who has been through so much this year.

The Brugnone family all contracted coronavirus while the father was hospitalized for a brain tumor, but when a popular Instagram influencer heard about it and got involved, people across the country pitched in.

“I contracted COVID late March,” Rebecca Brugnone said.

That was only the beginning of the problems for Brugnone and her entire family.

“I had a really hard time getting over it,” Brugnone recalled. “I became what is known as a long-hauler and I’ve had symptoms that no doctors can explain to me why I’m having them ever since. And I’ve been off of work for a really long time too.”

Months later, when she was starting to bounce back, the family had another health issues.

“My husband’s had an accident and fell off a ladder, and he had some pretty bad injuries that landed him in the ICU,” Brugnone said. “And while they were doing a CAT scan -- because he had hit his head -- they found a brain tumor.”

If that wasn’t enough to deal with, the biggest obstacle was yet to come. It was one that the entire family -- including two children -- would have to face.

“We were kind of preparing for his his surgery and we all contracted COVID again,” Brugnone said. “I got it a second time and then my family all got at this time with me as well.”

Life seemed to be spiraling out of control for the family of four until Instagram influencer Sara Foster heard their story and shared it with millions. She created an Amazon wish list and within minutes, people started to buy those items.

“I’ve had more support than I could ever imagine and it’s been amazing,” Brugnone said. “And it’s strangers, people I don’t even know, across the country. It’s beautiful.”

She said her husband was released from the hospital Saturday. Unfortunately, he’s not at 100% yet, but he can at least smile at what’s been done for the family.

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About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.