“I THINK YOU GET TO CHRISTMAS
SHOULD CONSIDER IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY,
YES! OPPORTUNITY BECOME BETTER HUMAN BEINGS,
OPPORTUNITY FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL FORGIVE,
LOVE OF APPRECIATE THOSE AROUND US
AND RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS GOD WHO GIVES US THAT OPPORTUNITY.”
- Hector Damian Ceceo Sanchez
Thirteen-year-old Hector Damian Ceceo Sanchez is an inspiring young poet. When you listen to him recite his works, you sense that his appreciation for life – and for the people in his – are molded by how he and his family have prevailed over their recent misfortunes.
In July 2009, university professor Damian Alberto Ceceo Panchono was driving in his hometown of Constitution, Baja California, Mexico with his family in the car. Hector was lying down on the back seat. Damian’s wife, Violeta, was holding their baby daughter, Gloria. He never saw the vehicle that hit him broadside at high speed and spun their vehicle. Damian next saw emergency workers treating him, his wife, and his son. A few minutes later, they found Gloria more than 100 feet away.
They braced Damian’s neck as a precaution; otherwise, he was unhurt. Violeta sustained a bruised kidney, seven broken ribs, and a fractured clavicle. The children were most critically injured. Doctors told Damian and Violeta they were at risk of losing both of them. Miraculously, Gloria completely recovered from her brain injury.
Hector’s spinal injuries left him paralyzed from the waist down. Following the second of two surgeries in Mexico, the family crossed paths with visiting representatives from Shriners Hospitals. Around Easter of 2010, Hector and his family made their first of five trips to Sacramento, supported by Shriners and charitable airplane pilots. Three surgeries later, Hector’s spinal support and wheelchair mobility are improved. The family knows there will be more trips to Sacramento.
On that initial trip, they worried about accommodations. Through a translator, Damian recalls that they never expected to find the Kiwanis Family House. He says the people have always treated them with respect and lots of love for the children. Hector and Gloria always want to come to the KFH. It feels like home to them. It is hard for them to be away from other loved ones at Christmas, but they are very happy to be together.