For those of you who haven’t heard, our brother – Esteban Garcia in Minnesota was recently diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. His family realized something was up when, about nine months ago, Esteban had trouble singing with the youth choir he helped lead. His voice had changed and it was more difficult to sing. Speech therapy didn’t help and a battery of tests revealed in the spring that he has ALS.
ALS is a disease that causes the decay of nerves in the body, which results in unresponsive muscles and muscle breakdown. The disease affects each person differently, with one person losing the ability to walk first while another loses the ability to speak or to use one’s hands. This Way of the Cross can lead to ever greater surrender, both to the mysterious plans of the Lord and to caretakers as immobility increases. And just as Jesus could see Mount Calvary getting closer, Esteban and his family will see his Calvary approach when his diaphragm muscles weaken and breathing becomes difficult.
As for right now, Esteban is able to keep up his running habit and grill breakfast sausage as he did for the Triplett’s before Andrew’s installation Mass. His speech is the thing that has been most affected thus far. Thankfully there is eye-tracking software that allows someone to spell by looking at letters of the alphabet on a screen. Hopefully his family can procure one of these computers so Esteban can communicate in the future.
Esteban, his wife Lucero, and his kids are people of prayer and trust in the Lord and we see that in how they are handling this news. Esteban once said something to the effect of, “I like asking people to pray for me because when they pray for me, they have to think about God.” He is evangelizing through his illness! They continue to be present at Emmanuel functions and their parish and both communities have surrounded them with support. Parish families are regularly hosting fundraiser dinners and the EC will host a large dinner/silent auction on August 25th. Dominic in MN is doing a wonderful job organizing that fundraiser. Tom is using his handyman skills to adapt their house for mobility aids. Chris prepared legal documents.
As for you, the reader, please cover Esteban, Lucero, and their four kids in your prayers. If the Spirit moves you to help financially or with a donation for the silent auction, please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Esteban’s CaringBridge webpage for updates on his health, the fundraisers, and the like. Find it at www.caringbridge.org/visit/estebangarcia.