Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pretty Chita

We have been away for a few weeks and it is with sadness that we write this post. As some of you may know, each year around this time we start gearing up to raise awareness and funds for our Tia Chita and the ALS Association through an annual benefit and a 5K walk. Well, this year we did the same but the tone was very different.

Early Saturday morning, September 3rd, our Tia Chita passed away after battling ALS for 6 and 1/2 years. She was at home with her husband and her mom, but the house was soon filled with family and friends for hours, days, and even weeks. She was a deeply loved women who inspired so many people with her life and her love for Christ and others. And per her last wishes we tried to show her just how much we loved her by giving her a "funeral to die for".

I guess to understand her request you must know a little about our Tia Chita. She loved having fun, being around family and friends, and dancing. She loved dressing up and going to parties. Even after her diagnosis she would love it when we would gather at her house for meals and celebrating birthdays. On her last night she had her family and her ACTS brothers and sisters gathered with her at the house singing and dancing and worshiping together. We weren't there but from what we heard she had a blast, tapping her foot and having our cousin raising her arm higher and higher into the air. What a great last night she was blessed with! After that night, she had told Juan, like she had said a few times before, that she was ready to go home (when the time came).  It's never easy to lose the ones you love, but knowing this gave us a little more peace.

After she passed she told our family, via a letter left to us, that she wanted us to make sure she was the talk of the town for a few days! Well, we didn't really have to try hard to make that happen. Like I said, she was an inspiration to a lot of people. We had family come in from a lot of different places and friends from all over town. Along with the services that we were planning, our 5th annual benefit for Chita was set to happen the day after the funeral. And the day after she passed the Jerry Louis Telethon was airing on TV and we found out they were going to air an interview that they did with her the year before due to it's success last year. So like I said we didn't have to do much to get people talking!

That week was hard but we made it through as a family and we all cried till we buried her - just as she had asked in her letter. But there was still a lot of work to do in order to pull the benefit together, which was changed a bit in order to be more of a celebration of her life.  People quickly gathered tons of smiling, family pictures and a beautiful slideshow was put together with some of Chita's favorite songs to honor her that night.

As our part of the benefit we had said that we would print the shirts for the family. At the time we were only talking about 75 shirts or so, but with all the extra family that was now coming in we ended up printing close to 200 shirts! A blessing in disguise because there would have been no way we could have ordered those extra shirts from a printer to have ready over the next few days.

Everyone did their part and we pulled off a very successful event! We met our goal plus a little extra, all in memory of Chita.

Now it has been two weeks and life is starting to get back to some kind of normal for us. She will always be missed in our hearts but we know we will see her again, and that she is looking down on us when she's not too busy dancing. ;)

We are still raising money to find a cure for ALS because there are still people that need our help and that is why Chita wanted to start having the benefit in the first place.  The money that we have raised for research has proven to be really helpful as they have recently found a common cause of the three types of ALS and now know what to look for when testing medication.

If you would like to be a part of finding a cure, please visit Taylor's Walk to Defeat ALS page or any "Chita Angels" member page. All funds go to the the South Texas Chapter of the ALS Association.   

Juan, Frankie, Chita, and Taylor at the CHF Banquet 2010

Thanks you all for the support that you have given us through texts, emails, and cards. It has meant a lot to us.

We love you Chita, Always!


  1. You guys, this is too sweet! Made me cry all over again. She was so proud of the work you both do for others! Together, we will keep her memory alive! Love you both!

  2. I was very saddened to hear of her passing (your mom called to let your uncle know). I will always remember her smile.

    God bless you & Taylor for all you do--you both are so giving!

    Love, Aunt Margaret