Imagine your world collapsing on you in an instant, and then suffering blow after medical and financial blow for the next several weeks. That’s what the Benavidez family in Los Banos has recently endured.
Since July 18, Chris, the father, has undergone severe medical traumas, and he, his wife Elizabeth and their five children face intense medical and financial challenges, more than they could have ever imagined.
Medical expenses not paid by insurance are mounting, while their income is decreasing. Many more medical expenses are coming.
To help the Benavidez family, members of the Los Banos Rotary Club have organized both a Go Fund Me page (https://gofund.me/dda99c01) and a Meal Train page (https://mealtrain.com/zkv2ro) to help their fellow Rotarians. Anyone can donate any amount at any time at each site.
On July 18, Chris Benevidez, who had been in good health, suffered an onset medical trauma. He was transported to a local hospital. His wife Elizabeth was bedside. The local hospital was able to scan, manage pain and find a facility equipped to further treat him. Before long, he was airlifted to a Sacramento hospital. Again, Elizabeth was bedside.
“We are so thankful to the local EMTs and to the staff at Sutter Hospital,” Elizabeth Benavidez said. “Without their fast and efficient work, Chris would not be functioning as well as he is now.”
After several scans, doctors discovered a six-centimeter mass in Chris’s brain in his left frontal lobe, as well as a thoracic fracture with a double compression to his T5 and T6 vertebrae.
Doctors discussed treatment options for his back; four times Chris was placed on the schedule, but each time the procedure was cancelled, since options were limited due to the high risk, including paralysis.
Doctors decided on an alternative plan in which Chris was fitted with a back brace around his torso, front and back. Doctors then talked about brain surgery, a craniotomy. He was discharged on July 30 with orders to return on August 4 for an outpatient craniotomy.
During his second stay in Sacramento, Chris underwent brain surgery. Again, Elizabeth was nearby. After many long hours of surgery, doctors removed a mass the size of a baseball. On August 6, Chris was allowed to go home. Today, almost miraculously, he is able to talk a little, eat a little and walk a little.
For the next three months Chris will need updates and adjustments to his brace. He will need to travel from Los Banos to appointments in Roseville , CA, a distance of 140 miles, for medical updates on his condition.
At the end of three months, he will have to consult a specialist for the next steps about his back. Additionally, he will also have to be transported to appointments to and from Sacrament and to wherever else specialty referrals will send him
Since July 18, Chris and Elizabeth have been hit with a pile of bills, especially for medical equipment and materials not covered by his insurance. Elizabeth is at home giving 24-hour care. She works in a contracted position. Because she is not working, she is not getting paid.
Chris works for a local non-profit assisting the chronically homeless to achieve independence and housing. Elizabeth, who is expecting twins in December, has spent many years doing similar work and specializes in substance use, mental health and behavioral health for a local hospital. Both are Rotarians, who live to serve.
The GoFundMe and Meal Train sites have been set up by members of the Los Banos Rotary Club in the spirit of service above self. “Chris and Elizabeth are Rotarians in our club,” said Antonia Martin, Los Banos Rotarian. “It’s only right that fellow Rotarians help them.”
“We set up the two sites,” Martin said, “to invite friends of the Benavidez family to help a family in need of support, a family that has so often supported their community in service with their church, their work and Rotary.”
“We encourage individuals to give what they can,” said Los Banos Rotarian Mike Neu, Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Los Banos, “by donating directly, sharing the link on their social platforms, sharing the link with their church congregations and of course, praying for this family.”