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Two Lives, Transformed

Marcelo and Gael Gracia with George Sanchez of Brightstar Care

The Austin-American Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign has made a profound difference in the lives of our past two recipients.

As you may remember, our 48-year-old ALS patient Marcelo Gracia and his son, Gael, were featured in the Austin American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign in December. As part of that campaign, George Sanchez of Brightstar Care offered certified nurse aides to Marcelo at half-price so Gael could go to his job at the Laundromat knowing that someone was caring for his dad.

George was so impressed with the quality of Gael’s care for his dad, however, that he offered to put Gael through school to get his CNA certification. We are happy to announce that Gael just finished his training and will be taking the certification exam on July 4th. He is already working at Brightstar Care and is enjoying it. He’s caring for an elderly patient who speaks German, French, English and a little Portuguese!

“Gael is doing great,” George reported. “This is his calling – it’s what he’s meant to do. He said he may even go on to nursing school!”

In other Season for Caring news, our 2016 Season for Caring recipient, Jacob Rodriguez, is full of hope for the future. He lost his wife, Adriana, to cancer and then a few months later his 4-year-old daughter, Emely, died of complications from leukemia. Jacob said that meeting so many people through Season for Caring, and feeling the love through the community, saved him from depression after losing his wife and daughter.

“I am so grateful for my life and to have been part of Season for Caring,” Jacob said. “I want people to know that if you lose someone, you can be happy again. You have to get up and say, ‘okay, this is what happened but life continues.’ You have to let people in.”

Jacob and Myra are expecting a son

Jacob has stayed in contact with many of the friends he made through Season for Caring. The best news of all is that Jacob has found love again and their son is due to be born this week!

Adriana and Emely are still a part of him and never far from his thoughts.

“My little niece looks at the stars at night and says, ‘I see Emely through my window,’” Jacob said. “I say, ‘Yes, I see her, too. She’s watching out for us.’”





Melinda Marble
Communications Coordinator

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