This is Leonel. As you can see, he was born smiling. He is the happiest little boy, and he has been such a strong fighter during his first year of life. When he was born, he had a cleft lip and palate and a club foot. Mama Cora and Daddy Oscar did not find out that this would be the case until ten days before he was born. You can imagine their surprise. There was no time to prepare.
Leonel recently turned 1 and has endured a leg and foot cast for 6 months, leg braces 24/7, lip taping and appliance insertion every few hours, and a major surgery to reconstruct his upper lip and repair his soft palate. Because of his round-the-clock care and multiple doctor visits each week, Cora has been unable to take a job. She hopes that will change after he recovers from his next surgery November 15 to pull his hard palate together and insert tubes in his ears.
Thankfully, Oscar has a good job as a truck driver that provides insurance for their family. However, even after insurance has paid their portion, the bills are simply overwhelming. For his first surgery alone, there were bills from the Craniofacial Specialist, the Orthodontist, the Plastic Surgeon, plus the Anesthesiologist and nursing staff. He will see all of them again next week, plus an ENT, and he will begin early intervention speech therapy in the new year. Remarkably, Leonel is already talking, and they will help ensure everyone can understand what he has to say.
They have been making payments, but as Oscar’s work has seasonal lows, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all. Several bills are threatening to go to collections, and with the next surgery coming so quickly, there is no way to catch up. No family should have to go into bankruptcy to make sure their son can swallow, and breathe, and run like his big brother.
Thankfully, he won’t likely need another surgery until he is 8, so this is a short-term help request. This family is the sweetest, most loving, little crew. Throughout this whole endeavor, they have worked together to do what is best for their two sons. Big brother Little Oscar keeps Leonel rolling with laughter, and we aim to keep it that way. You can see for yourself that this little smile is worth every penny.
Please give what you can. Every little bit helps. If this campaign does well, and we raise more than Cora and Oscar need to pay the medical bills, they plan to donate the rest to SmileTrain, an organization that provides cleft palate surgeries in the developing world, so other families in their position can benefit from your generosity.
DonationsSee top donations
- Aron Garcia
- Lorenzo Buzo
- Paul Micheli
- Kevin Kuhlman
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more