On a Monday night last December, 10-year-old Luis Aguilar Negron walked into the Frank Erwin Center with his dad, Jose Luis Aguilar. They climbed to the top of the arena to watch his favorite wrestlers compete in the biggest arena he’d ever been in.
Luis didn’t care they were so high up. His dream of watching a WWE match was coming true, and his dad was right there with him.
Three days later, Jose Luis Aguilar died in a car accident. He was driving home from work and was struck by another car. Aguilar’s son, daughters and wife were left with little stability, especially now that the oldest, Samanta Osorio Negron, 25, has been diagnosed with cancer.
This year the Negron family is part of Statesman Season for Caring program, which shares the stories of 12 featured families and helps hundreds of others through local nonprofit agencies. The Negrons were nominated by Foundation Communities, which provides affordable housing to families in Central Texas, as well as educational, financial and wellness programs. Since launching Nov. 26, Season for Caring has raised $432,338.60 in monetary donations as well as $120,000 in in-kind goods and services.
At Christmas, Luis usually gets underwear, socks and clothes, but his sisters and mother are hoping to give him more than necessities this year. His mom, Mayra Negron Romero, had always dreamed of going to Disneyland with Jose and the family, but that trip has been on hold for so long that the dream is starting to fade. “You’d think it would be us, but she’s the one who has always wanted to go,” Osorio Negron said.
Austinites are helping to give Luis a Christmas to remember. In January, Luis will get to see a WWE match, thanks to a donor, who has offered tickets to one in San Antonio. It will be bittersweet; his dad won’t be with him, but one of his dreams for Christmas will come true. Another donor is also wrapping up a wrestling video game for him. Also on his list are clothes, gift cards and enrollment in an after-school wrestling program. Those wishes haven’t been fulfilled yet. To find out more about the Negron family or to give an item on its wish list, contact Foundation Communities, 512-610-7391, foundcom.org.
Other kids being featured this Season for Caring also have items on their wish lists.
Donovan Clay, the 15-year-old son of Bertha Foster, who has been bedbound since a series of strokes left her paralyzed, would love to have driver’s education classes and a gently used car. He’d also like a laptop, size 12 football cleats, PlayStation 4 games and anything with the New England Patriots or Cleveland Cavaliers on it. Meals on Wheels Central Texas, 512-476-6325, Ext. 159, mealsonwheelscentraltexas.org.
Adeline Jones, 6, whose mom, Nikki Jones, has a rare autoimmune disease, would love to take classes for dance, karate or gymnastics. She would also like colorful bandages to use with her mom when she has infusions and a small pet like a hermit crab. Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org.
Sisters Sadiya Hamadi, 11, and Fatuma Noor, 6, and their brother Haji Mada, 9, came to Austin from a refugee camp in Kenya with their mother, Hawa Hassan. They would like a bike for Fatuma, an iPad, children’s books, school supplies, art supplies and clothing. Caritas of Austin, caritasofaustin.org.
Alden Sherwood, 16, has been in a wheelchair since undergoing treatments for a brain tumor. His brother Jacob, 13, is on the autism spectrum. Their mother, Trisha Sherwood, has multiple sclerosis. They would like Game Stop gift cards, acrylic painting supplies, a gift certificate to Austin Archery Country and movie theater tickets. Any Baby Can, 512-454-3743, anybabycan.org
The four children of Rogaciano Ríos Marcial — Alma, 10; Jasmine, 9; Keaity, 7; and Jesús Roberto, 5 — will be spending the first Christmas without their mom. They would like a computer; internet access; tablets; gift cards for the Thinkery or Austin’s Park N Pizza; hair accessories; clothes; a DVD player; movies in Spanish and a professional family photo. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, 512-444-7199, bgcaustin.org.
Two Season for Caring families with children have had their holiday wishes fulfilled. Jazmyne Johnson’s three children will be having a very merry Christmas thanks to the Hutto High School choir and Grisham Middle School students. This week they will be dropping off carloads of gifts for 4-year-old twins Nakayla and Nyliah and 3-year-old Nehemiah.
Syrian refugee Sami Ashour’s children, Hadi, 13, Fadi, 11, Hala, 8, Jana, 3, and Halil, 1, will receive gifts from Star Furniture on Wednesday.
In addition to these children, monetary donations to Season for Caring help the nonprofit partner agencies help more kids and their families havehappy holidays as well as a better life all year long.
SEASON FOR CARING
• To make a monetary donation to Season for Caring, use the coupon on Page A12 or go online to statesman.com/seasonforcaring .
• Find more stories, videos and photos of all the families at statesman.com/seasonforcaring .
• To learn more about donating an item or a service, call 512-445-3590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.