|January 22, 2006
||Many of you are still bringing gifts, even
though it is after Christmas. Every time I visit one of our children's
homes I am reminded that people all over the world
care about children. Thank you. They are truly our most precious
Also, just to let you know we care about
animals, too, find out what Friends for a Manzanillo Animal Shelter (FMAS)
has done for our furry, 4-legged
Also on Friday, February 10, at 9
p.m. PATA (Personas Ayudando de los Todos Animales) will be having a Fashion
Show and Pet Parade at Sunset Lounge on the boulevard. Proceeds will
go to helping all the street animals in Manzanillo.
A highlight of the
show is what happens afterward. Bring your pet for a one-of-a-kind pet parade. I am trying to get one of my adopted kids
disciplined enough to attend. At this point, I might be better off
bringing a stuffed animal! To find out more information about PATA and its
events and fundraisers, go to: http://www.mexicanpacific.com/get/PATA/
Vicente with his sister prior to the accident
|Vicente is gone.
Whether it was simply "his time," medical incompetence,
or lack of money for proper medical care, we'll never know.
learned about this child's terrible accident in the first week of
September. Before the accident, Vicente was a
normal, happy, healthy 10-year-old who attended school, loved to
play soccer, and had hopes and dreams for a bright future.
Vicente was ran over by a truck
driver September 2004. He was critically
injured, and was taken to the hospital, but Vicente's family
couldn't afford to keep him there long. They live in one of the
poorest areas of Manzanillo, Tapeixtles, a long climb up steep steps on a
on Sept. 6 about this young child's plight, I decided to go
to my computer and send out a call for immediate assistance. It worked.
Vicente, written Dec. 18.)
We were planning a fundraiser
for February, some wonderful folks were trying to get Vicente and his
mother to go to Canada for evaluation and treatment, and we were starting
to collect funds for an adult stroller. For the first time since the accident,
Vicente was sitting up, and was responsive to his name and human voices.
He seemed to enjoy his donated used TV and music from his CD player, and
his breathing tube had been removed.
This all came to a halt last
week. The house the family lives in is not much more than a shed. One
"wall" is a sheet of plastic. It is on a hill, subject
to chilling winds. Though the low 60s is not cold to most of you, those of
us who live here find it quite cold, and more so for a
Vicente's mother noticed that he
seemed to be getting a cold, which in his condition, could easily develop
into pneumonia. Since he was unable to swallow, she had to suction
the mucus and saliva from his throat constantly.
She took him
(by Red Cross ambulance) to the hospital, where the doctor wrote out a
prescription. Then she took the Rx to the government low-cost pharmacy, ISSTE,
to get it filled. The girl behind the counter told Maria that she did not
have the medication, but another drug would work just as well. Taking
the medicine home, Maria administered it through Vicente's stomach feeding
tube. Vicente went into convulsions, and was taken to the hospital again.
From there on, he went into a rapid decline, and Maria was told there was
nothing anyone could do. He was gone in a few days.
Vicente was buried in the
cemetery of Santiago, across from my office. Hundreds of people attended.
Vicente was brought to his final resting place, like so many other poor
people, in the bed of a pickup
truck. Many other trucks followed, filled with people.
Because Maria had
no money to buy a new plot, Vicente was buried on top of his younger
brother, Luis Daniel, who died at age 2 in a drowning accident in 2001.
This is a tragic end to a
child's life--made even more so because the outcome may have depended on money--or
the lack thereof. We have taken the remaining funds that everyone
has donated and given it to Maria for funeral expenses. The headstone for
her other son, Luis Daniel is a simple wooden cross with his name and
dates of birth and death. Maria will have a similar one made for Vicente.
Maria is now able to work without having Vicente to care for, but she
still has another child at home. She said she will take a little time to
rest before looking for work.
Maria has asked me to thank all
of you who have contributed. She said that at least Vicente's last 3
months were better than the 11 months before because of your caring and
After spending 17 years in print
media writing bad news, including tragedies such as this one, I swore I
would never write a sad story again. I wish I didn't have to write this
one, but when I started helping Vicente and his family, it had the
potential to be a good story--one where people, working together, could
perhaps pull off a miracle. But I guess our help came too late. I
keep thinking, "What if?" What if I'd learned about it sooner?
What if we'd had a chance to raise the funds to get Vicente to Canada?
Though time ran out for little
Vicente, your generosity and caring has helped and influenced the lives of many children
and animals here in my home of Manzanillo. Bless you all for everything
you've done, and continue to do.