My dad's name is Lorenzo. My dad has raised me and my siblings to understand the importance of working hard, standing proud, and being grateful for all of life's challenges, since they test perseverance and determination. His hands are rough and his skin is full of scars that reflect years of hard work to build a life of comfort for his family.
My mom's name is Lourdes, but friends and family call her "Lulu." She is a strong, intelligent and unapologetic woman who
in the early months of 2016, she was diagnosed with stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She had long days full of chemotherapy and radiation. Accompanied by short nights consisting of both fear and uncertainty with what tomorrow would bring. With the motivation and support of a community behind her, she stood strong and began her fight against breast cancer with absolute grace.
Despite wanting to be as close as possible to my mom during this time, she encouraged me to follow my heart and move away for college. I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma shortly after high school graduation, knowing both my parents were in good spirits. They constantly assured me that despite hurdles being thrown in front of them, like my mom loosing her hair or my dad loosing his job, they remained optimistic.
As 2016 was coming to an end, my parents began to gleam as the opportunities of 2017 began to arise. Their dream came true when finally, after years of trying, they invested in a home in the beauty that is Redwood Valley. A place they hoped to fit into their mold of "forever." Full of blood, sweat and tears the "house in the Valley" became their "home sweet home." I never got the chance to see the finish product of their labors but as my parents described every detail of their house, I understood what it meant to them. It meant holiday's in the living room, celebrations in the backyard and summer's playing in the pool. It stood as a symbol for the bright future they planned for themselves after a lifetime of hard work.
This was until Monday, 10/09/17. I woke up to a text from my mom at 5am saying "We have been evacuated from the house." That morning, every news channel was replaying pictures and videos of county after county in California engulfed in flames. After hours of anxiously waiting and being glued to the TV I finally heard the news that I prayed wouldn't be true. My parents home, along with countless others, had been turned into piles of ash. One of my dad's german shepard, unfortunately lost his life and 40+ years of hard work are gone. I am beyond thankful knowing they are out and safe but worry, since they aren't ones to ask for help.
Being halfway across the country from my family has me feeling absolutely useless. I cannot bring back the memories they lost, nor the home that once stood for so much. But I can at least set up this page in the hopes to soothe even an ounce of the strain they are feeling. They need help to buy clothes, food, housing, etc. Every prayer, penny or positive thought would mean the world to us.
From the bottom of my heart,
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