Gloria, her 11-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter and fiancé Lorenzo were living a comfortable life in Perú. Gloria ran the business she inherited from her father; Lorenzo worked as a computer technician. They were happily planning their wedding.
Tragically, in July, their young daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer. A few weeks later, she underwent a thirteen-hour operation. Then, two days later, another difficult surgery was performed.
By this point, the family had spent almost all of their money and were told that their daughter would need to start radiation and chemotherapy within thirty days but there was no availability in Perú within that time frame. So the family, along with Gloria's mother, made the incredibly brave decision to head to the US where there were more medical options to save her daughter's life.
They sold the family business, their homes - everything they owned - and made it to Marin last September, with just their phones and their passports.
With the help of her brother, along with North Marin Community Services and many kind strangers, they found a place to live and Gloria's daughter is now receiving weekly chemotherapy and radiation at UCSF while being homeschooled. Glori's son is in 4th grade (which he calls a "children's paradise!"). Gloria and Lorenzo clean offices at night when there's work.
While they miss Perú, they need to stay in the US for at least five years after the daughter's radiation and chemotherapy treatments end, so she can participate in an experimental medication study to see if they can stave off the cancer.
As difficult as this as this has been, Gloria said that she knows that there are many who have less than they do and she is incredibly grateful for how supported they have felt along this journey.
When the family returned, they were moved to tears. The kids ran through every room, exclaiming and pointing out every new addition. Sweetly, the son was most excited about the shelf of books and having his very own light on the bunk bed.
Now they can focus on their daughter's cancer treatment and healing. The Marin Country Day School family will keep in touch and continue to support them during this challenging time.
We want to express our gratitude for the delicious lunch provided by United Markets to our volunteers.
Special thanks to MCDS colleague Nick Woldeselasie, who took lovely portraits of the family while they were out during the transformation of their home.
The Welcoming Home team is so grateful for organizations like MCDS, who step up to sponsor a Welcoming, as it allows us to help more families than the seven or eight we help every other month. If your organization, group of friends, etc. is interested in sponsoring the furnishing of the home of a formerly homeless family, please contact us at https://welcominghome.org/contact-us/ for details.
Stay tuned for details of our next Marin Welcoming on June 17th.
With much gratitude,
The Welcoming Home Team