Father featured in Season for Caring dies from ALS


Marcelo Gracia was just waiting for God. He said God was the only one who could decide whether to leave him with his family for a little while longer or to bring him home.

For six years, Gracia lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which causes muscles to waste away.

On Wednesday, Gracia had one good last day before he died. He was 45.

Gracia and his son and main caregiver, Gael Guadalupe Gracia Garcia, 24, were part of the 2017 Statesman Season for Caring program, which highlights the needs of 12 families nominated by local nonprofit organizations and then helps hundreds of other families served by the agencies. The Gracias were nominated by Hospice Austin.

Before he was diagnosed, Gracia worked in construction and helped install large storm drains and sewer lines for the city of Austin and commercial projects.

“During this past year, his illness has been progressing faster than any other years before,” Gracia Garcia said in October, after Marcelo Gracia’s doctors had told them his father would only have a few more months to live.

Yet, after a good day of being able to talk and stand in his walker, it was a surprise when it happened, said Melinda Marble, communications coordinator with Hospice Austin.

Season for Caring funds and a donation from BrightStar Care made sure that Gracia was not alone these last few months by providing home health care assistance so that Gracia Garcia could continue to work in a laundromat to support his father. BrightStar Care also offered to pay for Gracia Garcia to go to school to become a certified nursing assistant, with a job in the future.

“Season for Caring brought Marcelo and Gael so much comfort and so much quality of life these last few months,” Marble said. “To be able to provide him with a full-time caregiver was priceless. It gave Gael peace of mind.”

Season for Caring also reunited Gracia with his wife, who lives in Indiana. She was able to visit during the Christmas holidays using Season for Caring funds. Funds also will help pay for the cremation, and a burial plot also was donated.

“The community showed so much generosity to this family,” Marble said.

Gracia leaves behind his son and a daughter, Carmen Gracia Garcia, as well as a grandson, 4-year-old Iram, with whom Gracia had a special bond.

Gracia said in October that he was proud of Iram and that he regretted that he wouldn’t be able to be there for more of his life.

“He still wants to see him grow,” Gracia Garcia said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Texas jail guard thanks inmates who aided him during heart attack
Texas jail guard thanks inmates who aided him during heart attack

A former Texas jail guard still becomes emotional when he thinks about the day several prisoners helped save his life when he suffered a massive heart attack. “Instead of overtaking me and taking my gun, and killing me or taking a hostage and escaping, they looked at me as a human being,” Gary Grimm told WFAA.  Grimm, 52, was...
San Antonio man arrested after chase, SWAT standoff that closed I-35 in New Braunfels
San Antonio man arrested after chase, SWAT standoff that closed I-35 in New Braunfels

A San Antonio man is in custody Tuesday after a three-hour SWAT standoff with New Braunfels police that shut down Interstate 35 Monday night. Ruben Ramirez Jr., 46, was expected to be booked into the Comal County Jail after authorities said he had robbed a Lowe’s home improvement store and led officers on a chase before the standoff. Police...
Police: Ohio 7th-grader suffers self-inflicted wound after bringing gun to school
Police: Ohio 7th-grader suffers self-inflicted wound after bringing gun to school

A seventh-grader was hospitalized after suffering an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at an Ohio middle school, police said Tuesday. Shortly before 8 a.m., the boy shot himself in a restroom at Jackson Memorial Middle School, Jackson Township police Chief Mark Brink said. Superintendent Christopher DiLoreto said middle school officials will decide...
'Kill the NRA' written across billboard on Louisville interstate
'Kill the NRA' written across billboard on Louisville interstate

A vandalized billboard on a major interstate highway in Kentucky has become a focal point for both sides of the gun control debate in the wake of last week’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. A sign along I-65 in Louisville reads “Kill the NRA,” the Louisville Courier-Journal reported....
TRAFFIC ALERT: Train blocking Oltorf, Mary streets in South Austin
TRAFFIC ALERT: Train blocking Oltorf, Mary streets in South Austin

Traffic delays were expected in South Austin on Tuesday morning after a stalled train blocked both Oltorf and Mary streets just west of South Lamar Boulevard. Drivers were encouraged to find alternate routes through the area. Emergency personnel, including Austin police, had responded to an initial report of a pedestrian being struck, but no one has...
More Stories