Hope for Luz Velasquez

A young woman of only 20 years, Luz Velasquez, was admitted to the hospital on January 20, 2015.  It was on this day that her family would find out that the woman they love so dearly would be fighting to get her life back.  In the early morning hours she was awakened by extreme pain in her head.  Her husband, Leodegario Matilde, rushed her to the hospital.  A blood vessel had ruptured in her brain causing severe bleeding.  She was transported via helicopter from Community Medical Center in Toms River, NJ to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ.  Here she underwent extensive brain surgery to remove the bleeding from her head.  She has suffered multiple consequences due to her condition, which was diagnosed as AVM (Arterio-Venous Malformation).  She is unable to move her right arm and right leg.  She is unable to speak, has difficulty feeding herself and cannot use the bathroom without assistance.    Luz will need extensive cognitive therapy, as well as physical rehabilitation and speech therapy in order to help her on the road to recovery.  It is not yet known what Luz is able to comprehend, however, the doctors that have performed the brain surgery are hopeful that Luz can recover, but not without intense acute rehabilitation.

Luz does not have insurance and does not qualify for Medicaid because she is an undocumented immigrant.  Prior to this tragedy Luz was in the process of completing requirements to obtain Deferred Action status.  Due to her status the family is unable to find a rehabilitation facility willing to admit her and provide the necessary care for her recovery.  Right now she lies back in Community Medical Center because she needs 24 hour care that cannot be provided at her home.  However, due to the laws associated with her status, she will only receive minimum therapy and will eventually be sent home without any additional care that would be crucial to her recovery.  Luz’s husband, Leo, whom has acquired the Deferred Action status, must work to pay the rent and everyday living expenses.  Therefore, it will not be possible for him to provide 24 hour care for his wife.  We have exhausted all avenues trying to get help for Luz and each lead has ended in heart wrenching disappointment.

Luz Velasquez is a beautiful young woman who deserves a chance at returning to the life she once knew.  We cannot give her this opportunity if we cannot come up with the funds to get her the rehabilitation that she so desperately needs.  We need your help to get her back to the vibrant young woman she was on January 19, 2015.  We are asking for donations and many prayers.  All of the money raised will go towards Luz’s rehabilitation that will need to be paid in full by her husband.

Please open your hearts and your wallets for Luz Velasquez.  Any donation that you can afford will be greatly appreciated.


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Julie Zummo Casertano 
Beachwood, NJ
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