Stories of Hope

Alfredo and Maria Mendoza

I am writing on behalf of my parents Alfredo and Maria Mendoza.

My father, Alfredo emigrated to the U.S. in the 1960's.  He came to the U.S. in hopes of a better life and future.  As an aspiring musician with incredible vocals, he competed in several local and state wide competions and had a music deal in the process.  Many of his talented work was preserved through home made cassettes which have been transferred to CDs. 

In 1985, while working in the desert fields in Arizona, he sufferred a stroke.  He layed comatose for nearly 14 hours until he was found and transported to the hospital. 

Fortunately, he survived his accident however, he was also struck by Guillen Barre Syndrome and became fully paralyzed. Most devestating to him was the loss of his vocal chords.  An emergency tracheotomy was performed and permanently damaged his voice.  He was never able to sing a note again. His dream and promising future as a musician was shatterred.  He has been a fighting surviver and quadraplegic for the past 20 years and has lived in and out of nursing homes. His dream was to become a famous singer with a record label and a Star on the Walk of fame.  I am comitted to making his dream come true while he is still alive to see it happen.   At the time of my father's accident, I was 15 years old and the eldest of three.  The doctors told us he was a lucky man but would never regain mobility and gave him a few years to live.   

At age 17, my mother Maria, had just given birth to my sister Vanessa who was born with Down's Syndrome. One month after Vanessa was born my mother suffered a nearly fatal stroke.  She was rushed to the hospital where intensive brain surgery was performed to remove a blood clot.  With the help of neurosurgeons and medical advancement my mother's life was saved.  She went through extensive rehabilitation for many months and regained much of her strength however, she remained a hemiplegic. She has lived with paralysis for the past 17 years. The doctors told us that she would be able to function with assistance but would never move her right side again.

Several years ago, my sister, Marie was diagnosed with Myastenia Gravis, an autoimmune disease at the young age of 24. 

I feel very blessed to have had my parents and family in my life for this long.  Although many would see my families devestating health ailments as a tragedy; their strength and perserverance has  become a hope of opportunity and pilar for me.  Instead of seeing their illnesses as a problem, it is an opportunity for me to advocate and be a voice for the disabled community.    My parents have lived with paralysis for many many years  and now, after all these years they  have a shot of what was once the impossible,  a cure. 

Proposition 71 will open the doors for research and treatment for many health ailments. 

We can not, should not, and will not deny millions of people the chance and shot at a cure with this incredible research and advancement.  

I have had many dreams about my parents.  In my dream I see my father walking upright towards me and he gives me a hug.  I hear his beautiful voice sing  again.  In my dream I see my mother dancing and walking without assistance.  But then, I wake up and realize it was only a dream.  My dream, is so close to becoming reality! 

I truly believe where there is a will there is a way and what the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.   

As a community advocate for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Action Network Inner Circle, I am ever so determined to continue the crusade and the incredible legacy Christopher Reeve worked so tirelessly to achieve.  His hard work was not done in vain.  My goal was to someday  meet him and I am saddend that I have missed out on that opportunity. 

However, I will continue to assist, advocate, and be a voice for those who can not. 

We can not deny millions the right and a shot at hope.  How many more lives must be lost, before we realize the hope Stem Cell Research offers?

I will not give up on my family and will continue the crusade in hopes of finding a cure by educating the community. I hope that you will too.

God Bless,

Carol Sierra

"We must. We can. We will." CRPF

"So many of our Dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." Christopher Reeve