The Luena Foundation

€30,613 of €50,000 goal

Raised by 204 people in 11 months
On March 3, 2018 we had a sleep-over party at our house with three of our kids’ friends. We made homemade pizza, ate popcorn, danced to crazy music, watched the movie CoCo and had the kids all tucked into to bed shortly after midnight.

Emily and I were drifting off to sleep when our son and his friend rushed into our room to tell us that Luena, the 11 year-old daughter of two of our closest friends and one of the children staying at our house, had suddenly sat up in bed and was complaining of a bad headache. 

We immediately knew that something was wrong when,  five minutes later, Luena became completely unresponsive. We quickly got her into an ambulance and she was taken to Ronda and then onto the Children’s Hospital in Malaga.

While we initially thought that Luena had suffered from an epileptic attack, we found out later that morning that things were actually much worse... she had been diagnosed with a massive brain hemorrhage/stroke near her brain stem, the part of the brain that controls practically everything. 

After being in a coma 8 days, this sweet little girl passed away at 3:30pm on Sunday, March 11, 2018. She was surrounded by her entire family.

We are in the process of setting up a foundation in Luena’s name so that her legacy of love will never be forgotten. This Go Fund Me initiative will be directly connected to the foundation that is being created and is the first step in making sure that Luena's loving spirit will live forever.  The Luena Foundation will be used as an instrument to help underprivileged children throughout the world.


There is no doubt in our minds that that all of us are interconnected.  Luena's story continues... Despite the fact that Luena's parents were paralyzed by their grief, they mustered all their strength and made the selfless decision to donate their daughter's organs to five other children throughout Spain, including to an eight-year old boy who would have died within days if it were not for the gift of their little girl's heart.  

The funeral for Luena was held this past Monday in our small town of El Gastor, Spain and over 1,000 people attended. When Luena’s Aunt, Aurelia, read about about the impact Luena has had on all of our lives and the countless hearts she had touched, tears streamed from my eyes. Elias and Estrella, Luena's parents, carried our entire town’s sadness on their shoulders and they never flinched nor asked what could be done for themselves. These days, the world in which we live seems to only focus on the negatives, but over the past two weeks, Emily and I saw the resolve of the human spirit as two people walked through the depths of hell with grace, dignity and hope.

Estrella and Elias, Emily and I are honored to be your friends.  You should be proud as you are wonderful parents and role models and your children are an extension of your love and guidance. While your pain will never go away, we pray that together, we can be a beacon of light and love to those needy children who will benefit from the foundation that we are creating. 

Luena, Emily and I have traveled all over the world and have met many interesting people and have seen things beyond our wildest dreams, but our greatest honor has been to know you and your beautiful family.  On the way to the hospital on Sunday, Emily and I saw an amazing rainbow that soared from one end of the sky to the other. We have never seen anything so majestic and at that point, we knew that this was not a rainbow, but your beautiful smile shining down from above.

This is not the end our dear friend, but is only just the beginning. I promise you that through your foundation, we will save other lives and provide hope, love and peace to a plethora of children. Your rainbow will shine bright and will guide us forever.

El sol no se cansa de abrazarnos, no nos cansemos nosotros de sostener la vida que empieza sobre nuestras  espaldas y nuestro corazón; Te invita a seguir luchando por ellos desde la fidelidad del día a día y el brillo de sus  tiernos ojos!

We will continue to fight for you Luena, and you will continue to live on through all of us.  We will never forget your smile, your beautiful hair, your infectious spirit, your motherly instincts, your positive energy and most of all, the love you passed on to everyone around you.
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The entire town of El Gastor is working tirelessly to prepare the best benefit/gala possible to celebrate the life of Luena on April 29. The festivities begin at 12pm and we would love for everyone to join. Further, we have reached 26,000 euros, but are falling short of our goal of 50,000 euros. If you have not yet donated to the Luena Foundation, please do so as 100% of the donations will go directly to children in need. Thank you for your kindness and generosity. Emily, Elias, Estrella and the entire town of El Gastor are extremely appreciative.
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"At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer

Thank you, Luena, for lighting the flame within Emily and I and for being the spark that will allow us to do good works in your name.

As promised, Emily and I donated another 5,000 euros to increase our personal total to 10,000 euros. We are extremely excited about the prospects for the Luena Foundation, and we will continue to reach out to our friends, family and past corporate relationships.

Last night, we held a town-wide meeting to plan a benefit/fundraiser on April 29. More than 150 people from our town came out with their plans to collaborate with us, and all of us shared a common desire: to celebrate the life of Luena and to further our shared vision for her campaign.

We continue to be amazed by the love and support of our community and we are extremely appreciative of all of the people who have donated to our initiative. If you have not yet donated, please do so! 100% of donations will go to organizations that support children in need around the world.

We will continue to keep everyone updated as our foundation develops and as we begin to deploy your donations.
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Emily and I are absolutely floored by the outpouring of love and generosity displayed in the first 24 hours of the launch of the Go Fund Me page earmarked for the Luena Foundation. Our initiative has surpassed 5,000 euros, so, as promised, Emily and I have matched the initial 5,000 euros. Our family will donate another 5,000 euros once we achieve 10,000 euros in outside donations. As a reminder, we promise to deploy 100% of the funds raised directly to the organizations that the Luena Foundation will be sponsoring. Our family will absorb all administrative costs (i.e. transfer fees / marketing costs) incurred by the Foundation.

A heart-felt thank you to all of you that have donated and to all of you who are in the process of donating. Luena was a beautiful little girl and we know that this project would have made her very, very proud. We have included a picture of her family so that you can put names with faces and know that your donations will help this amazing family find some solace, hope and peace from the tragic loss of their Luena.
Elias, Estrella, Luena and Marcelo
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€30,613 of €50,000 goal

Raised by 204 people in 11 months
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