Vivia and Rio's Medical Fund

$8,100 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 67 people in 14 days
Dear Friends and Family:
The time has come that we need to ask for help. 
As many of you know, we have been gifted with three children, two of which are (each) literally one in a million and have different serious RARE conditions.  I apologize for the length of this post, but it is necessary to show why we are asking for help.  We didn't the first time we dealt with all of this, but now that we are facing a second round (with both children) we are reaching out to ask for help sharing this burden.  The timeline below exists to show the extent of the burden and the unfolding of the story. If you don't have time to read it all, it's ok - I'll just summarize it here:
Viv is back in the hospital. Rio just had a second surgery and may need a third. We're exhausted. We're strapped. We're carrying an enormous expense. We could really use help.

1) GIVE whatever you can. No donation is too small and can even be done anonymously (tax-deductible) - if even just all our FB friends gave $5 we'd be well on our way.
2) SHARE on social media
3) EMAIL this page - gofundme.com/ https://www.gofundme.com/WeLoveTheMartinezes
- to your family + friends.

Here's a timeline:
2008: Our son Rio was born and discovered to have a rare condition called Micropthalmia with blindness in the right eye, along with several other mid-line cranio-facial birth defects like a cleft lip and gum.
- Costs incurred: Higher than usual Hospital Bills for extended hospital stay and extensive testing as they thought his brain may not have developed fully.
Age : 1 day

2009: Rio receives his first (of many) prosthetic eye pieces so that his skull will properly form. He needs new custom-fitted prosthetics every few weeks since growth is very rapid at this age.  These are called conformers. He also needs to be hospitalized for sedated MRI's to determine the extent of the birth defects and course of action. 
- Hospital Bills, Prosthetic Eye Bills
- Age 3 mos

2010: Rio has his first surgery to correct his cleft gum.
Rio receives his first PAINTED prosthetic eye. And a second one by year end.
- Hospital Bills, Prosthetic Eye Bills
Age 18 mos.

2010: Vivia, our oldest began to have a rash on her face, knuckles, and elbows that would not go away. We took her to a dermatologist expecting a steroid cream that would clear it up - instead we were told Vivia had a rare life-threatening chronic disease called Juvenile Dermatomyositis - that is likened to an allergy to the sun, although it is so much more than that. And that we needed to pack our bags and go straight to Shands hospital in Gainesville FL, (2 hours away) because there are no doctors in Orlando equipped to handle this disease.
Age of DX - 4 yrs
Rio - Receives 3 more prosthetic eyes because of rapid growth.
Age 2
Astronomical Hospital Bills, now x 2

2011: Vivia begins first of many hospital admissions for aggressive treatments consisting of daily High-Doses steroids, IVIG white-blood cell transfusions, Methotrexate (chemotherapy) transfusions and weekly injections, as well as a plethora of daily meds.
Begins several therapies. Age 5
Rio receives 2 more prosthetic eyes. Age 3 
Astronomical Hospital Bills, Prosthetic Eye Bills

2012: VIVIA: Treatments/ Therapies continue Age 6 
Rio receives 1 -2 more Prosthetic eyes Age 4
NOEMI was born - ( NO ISSUES PTL!!!)
Astronomical Hospital Bills, Prosthetic Eye Bills

2013: VIVIA: Treatments/Therapies continue Age 7 Vivia is granted a MAKE A WISH
Rio receives 1 -2 more Prosthetic eyes Age 5
Astronomical Hospital Bills, Prosthetic Eye Bills

2014: VIVIA: Treatments/Therapies continue Age 8
We finally get the word that we can begin weaning her off the steroids
Rio receives 1 -2 more Prosthetic eyes Age 6
Astronomical Hospital Bills, Prosthetic Eye Bills

2015: VIVIA: Treatments/Therapies continue Age 9
Flare from weaning too rapidly, up the meds again change meds to CELL CEPT. 
Rio receives 1 -2 more Prosthetic eyes Age 7
Astronomical Hospital Bills, Prosthetic Eye Bills

2016: Treatment continues, weaning still... and finally wean from FINAL drug that she was on. But no remission YET... 
We finally pay off the LAST hospital bill for Rio's surgery and birth complications. 

Rio receives 1 -2 more Prosthetic eyes Age 8
Medical Bills, New Prosthetic Eye Bills, still paying off Vivia's 


11/2017: Rio - second surgery for cleft GUM. In researching for the surgery he needs another MRI which discovers yet another birth defect previously undetected. He's missing part of his skull. The Sella Turcica. More specialists are needed to determine course of action and if another (dangerous brain) surgery is necessary. 
Vivia: It was discovered that there was oversight in her daily preventative care regimen (sunscreen and sun protection) and signs of disease flare begin to surface. 
Hospital Bills again

 -Vivia: On visit in January, Doctor says Vivia is no longer in remission and needs to begin treatment ALL OVER AGAIN.  Admitted to Shands Hospital for treatment by end of Jan. 

- I lose my job due to company cutbacks. (Unrelated yet relevant)

- Vivia is accepted into a JDM study in Washington DC and is able to see the world's leading DR's on JDM. (Trip to DC to see these docs).
- Rio: receives 1 more prosthetic eye and is told he needs orthodontics to further correct cranio-facial issues. Course of action for several other issues still to be determined. 
Hospital Bills x2 again. 


We're exhausted. We're strapped. We're carrying this unexpected enormous financial burden. We could really use help. 

 The first time we dealt with all of this (Round one) killed us financially. We really wanted to do the right thing and avoid medical bankruptcy which most people do. We were also in the beginning stages of a really big DEBT FREE lifestyle and had paid off almost all of our consumer debt when all of this happened. 
I wish I was kidding, but the toll it took the whole family was drastic.  We lost our house last time (had to sell bc we couldn't afford it anymore), and before we see ourselves in another devastating financial position, we thought we would reach out and ask for friends and family and those that love us and Vivia and Rio to help. 

It took us literally years to payoff all the bills from round one which included me having to take on extra jobs in addition to the full-time job of caring for my special needs kiddos. 
With the latest turn of events, I will not be able to work full time again anyway (at least for awhile) because it really is a full time job dealing with all of this. You'd be surprised how many hours I waste just waiting on hold with insurance companies and medical providers. 


1) GIVE whatever you can. No donation is too small and can even be done anonymously (tax-deductible) - if even just all our FB friends gave $5 we'd be well on our way.
2) SHARE on social media 
3) EMAIL this page - gofundme.com/ https://www.gofundme.com/WeLoveTheMartinezes
- to your family + friends.
+ Read More
Campaign Update:
We are almost halfway there!
Attached is a breakdown of the $20,000 that we are trying to raise, so you can see where your donations are going,
So grateful and humbled.
We love you all so very much.
We are almost halfway there!
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We’d like to take a minute to publicly thank everyone who has already supported our GoFundMe and donated to Viv and Rio’s “Paydown the Medical Debt” fund as of Thursday night. We will have to make another video to include those who have given since then!
Directed by: Vivia
Produced by: Vivia
Edited by: Vivia
Actors: Vivia and Rio
To see how you can help -

#welovethemartinezes #weneedacure #gofundme
#gofundmelinkinbio #gofundmedonations #miraclesdohappen #takethatJDM #miraclesnow
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For those of you who weren’t online earlier, make sure you check out the Facebook live video Vivia and Rio did of the Martinez GoFundMe Game Show!!!
So Ridiculous you just have to watch!
All mayhem aside, it is a shout out and THANK YOU to those of you who’ve already donated to the Kid’s Paydown the Medical Debt Fund.
We are about 1/3 of the way there.

Thanks again!

And your hosts are...
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Can we just talk about this legend for a minute?
When Rio was born, he wouldn’t open his right eye. His left one was wide open and taking in his new world. But not his right. On day two I began asking the nurses to have a look. “It’s ok” they said. “It’s normal” they said.
I knew something wasn’t right.
Later in the day they came and took our teeny brand new boy for a CT scan with sedation.
My heart rend in half, having adhered to his, when they pulled him off of me. I begged to go with them. Huge tears rolling down mine and Gabe’s eyes. I can only recall being that scared and (actually) devastated one other time, that would happen two years later.
He was being taken away to find out if his brain had developed fully since they had already discovered two mid-line birth anomalies already.
Every minute was an hour.
“I have good news and I have some bad news. Good news, his brain is fully formed. Bad news, we really got that eye open and got a good look, and his eye did not fully form. It is 50% smaller than his other one, will have no sight, and will never grow or catch up to the other... “ I actually dove into a tunnel at that point, his voice became muffled the deeper I plunged under the dark cold water of my heart. Completely submerged. I went somewhere else.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t come back for a few years.
Suddenly, microphthalmia (a one in a million condition) became our world. And words like “Ocularist”, “Prosthetic”, “conformer”, and “surgeries” (plural) entered our vocabulary.
We brought home our brand new Paolo Rio to a cave of grief instead of a house of life.
How would we ever be normal again?

Rio went to the Prosthetic Eye Institute today to get his 14th (? we’ve lost count) eye, after just having his second surgery for clefting only 3 mos ago. Those of you who know Rio already know what a champion he is. And “normal” is not even in his vocabulary.
Extraordinary, unique, wise, and beyond-his-years, maybe. In preparing for his surgery, he had another CT scan which revealed yet another serious anomaly, previously undiscovered. He is missing a part of his skull. The part that houses his pituitary gland. So, in essence, his brain and his Pituitary are only separated by soft tissue. The pituitary gland is located (basically) right up your nose, behind your sinuses. The skull would separate that from the brain, but as it stands, Rio does not have that layer of protection. In other words, a straw accidentally going up Rio’s nose could go straight into his brain. We are in the early stages to see what (if anything) can be done and if it would even be worth the risk. Extraordinary indeed.

Rio will need many more prosthetics and many more visits, and, and, and... in his lifetime. Donating towards his medical fund will help us now, and for the things we are facing.

Www.GoFundMe.com/WeLoveTheMartinezes to read more and to donate.

The outpouring of generosity has been quite overwhelming, and we are eternally grateful.

PS: if you’re squeamish, you may not want to watch this video.
+ Read More
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$8,100 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 67 people in 14 days
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