Boys Town South Florida and Palm Beach County Community Helps Local Family Realize Christmas Miracle
For Nelson Torres and his family, facing a challenge is nothing new. But sometimes those challenges are just too much to face alone.
Thanks to Boys Town South Florida and Care Coordination Consultant Brittany Paxton, the Torres family has a partner on the road to recovery.
Like so many across the country, Nelson lost his job during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the family lost their savings and dreams to one day purchase their own home. They had to bounce from hotels to family members' homes before finding a house, which they rented.
Nelson was able to find work, and he moved from a custodial position to that of a veterinary technician. He enjoys his job but works long hours compounded because without a vehicle, he must walk to and from work each day. Even with his job, it was difficult to make ends meet.
This past September, the family's landlord chose not to accept their attempt to budget and pay their rent and is now pursuing eviction. This development is devastating to Nelson and his wife, Raysa, especially considering their circumstances.
The couple is raising four children – their two daughters, a son, and their niece. Raysa and two of the children suffer with a devastating medical condition called Neurofibromatosis type 2, which causes tumors to grow along the nerves of the body. These tumors must be surgically removed and often lead to other serious issues such as hearing loss and facial weakness or paralysis. People with Neurofibromatosis type 2 may end up needing a wheelchair or another device to support their mobility.
Raysa lost her hearing after her last surgery. Due to the ongoing nature of the illness, she was unable to work. The parents have also had to watch their two children with the disease endure multiple surgeries. There have been brain surgeries and major spinal surgeries to remove tumors. The complications led to the children switching from a typical school setting to home school, where Raysa oversees their education. To get to their medical appointments and procedures, the family must arrange transport through Medicaid, which does not always work out as planned. For the oldest child's last surgery (an operation to remove tumors from her brain), the medical transport fell through, and the family was forced to spend a considerable amount of money on an Uber ride.
The family seemed to be facing a monumental battle. The stress Nelson and Raysa were under was unbelievable.
That's when they turned to Boys Town South Florida for help and Paxton was assigned to work with the family.
“I quickly learned just how special this family was," Paxton said. “No matter what they are going through, these family members supported and looked out for one another."
Raysa and Nelson would gush about their children and the things that make them special. They championed their goals and interests. The love they have for one another was palpable. Brittany quickly realized how critical their need was for a stable home and a reliable vehicle. A home would provide them safety, comfort, and health. A car would ensure they are able to get to their medical appointments, hospital stays, school, and work.
For a family that has been through so much, taking this burden off them would be the very least of what they deserve.
Paxton nominated the family for the Palm Beach Post's Season to Share campaign. Money raised by the newspaper goes to help selected struggling families and the organizations in their community that serve them. The family was selected to be featured and their story was published. An outpouring of community support came in.
Through generous community donors the family received stable housing, a car and additional monetary gifts. Boys Town South Florida was also a recipient of a $5,000 award to support its Mission.
“We are so thankful for the Palm Beach County Post's Season to Share campaign and the Palm Beach County community who pulled together to help this amazing family have a Christmas miracle," said Boys Town South Florida Executive Director Bethany Lacey.