HAM LAKE, Minn. (KMSP) - This weekend, family members will say goodbye to Doug Witkowski after a long battle with cancer.
But before then, they want to say thank you to an unknown good Samaritan for an early Christmas present.
Christy Witkowski says her husband Doug had a heart of gold.
"Anybody who came in contact with him loved him and he loved them," said Christy. "He could make anyone smile or anyone laugh."
But even though her heart is broken, he is counting her blessings through her grief.
"Just knowing that we're loved, that people loved him so much - strangers who don't even know me, but know him and his family," she said. It's overwhelming in a very good way."
Doug was diagnosed with stage four rectal cancer last year.
After nearly a dozen rounds of chemo and radiation therapy, his family found out the cancer had spread to his brain and earlier this week he ran out of both treatments and time.
"I think he knew and I think because he had tried all his options, he was at peace with just letting go," said Christy.
Now Doug's family is overcome by the outpouring of love from their friends and neighbors in Ham Lake.
In fact, his mother, who already lost her son Tim in a car accident and her husband Joe to an aneurysm a couple of years later, says an anonymous donor came forward to pay all the expenses for Doug's funeral and burial on Saturday.
"It makes me feel so grateful," said Sheryl Witkowski. "We both said we could live three lifetimes and never pay forward what this community has done for us."
Christy takes comfort knowing Doug is watching over her and their four-year-old daughter Sophia up in heaven. But she's just as grateful for their guardian angel here on Earth.
"We don't know if it's one person or a group of people, but whoever you are thank you. Absolutely," said Christy.
Doug's mother says this is the fourth time the community has come together to support their family financially. Once again, they are thankful for the wonderful gesture to help them through this difficult time.